People forget about CodeAcademy when they talk about MOOCs, but it was earlier than most and, with 24 million users, larger than most. It has distanced itself (quite rightly) from the xMOOCs offered at Stanford and elsewhere. "The problem with MOOCs, according to Codecademy founder Zach Sims, is that they simply try to replicate the offline learning experience. The web presents the opportunity to learn in an entirely new way, he says." Quite so. This year it will begin monetizing, not by selling certificates to students, but by matching students with jobs (circumventing the whole certification process entirely). When you stop thinking that you're a university, a world of opportunity opens up to you.
If you're wondering, Facebook knows pretty much everything about you. Which takes us back once again to the discussion of public spaces and private places. I remember writing about this in 2000, but it wasn't ereally much of an issue back then. But today, with surveillance, clampdowns on public demonstration, and all the rest of it, it is becoming much more so. Doug Belshaw writes: "Public spaces should be public and commonly-owned. Perhaps it’ s time for governments to stop fawning over billionaires with technical skills and start providing services for all of us. Maybe instead of dismantling the state to allow for private profit, we can use technology to create a more egalitarian and just society." (p.s. don't bother with David Eggers; novelizations are not evidence, and shouldn't be cited as a way "to dig a little deeper").
Insightful post about the role and use of hashtags. It's relevant because of the widespread use of hashtags in learning. Hashtags were (and are) produced not by individuals or corporations, but by communities. Though commonly associated with Twitter, they existed before Twitter monetized them, and would continue to exist even after the company discontinues their use (as some carefully placed 'rumours' have suggested). But in the spirit of 'there is utterly nothing that commerce does not foul' the discussion over hashtags has turned to their exploitation (by news and other content agencies) and they ownership (by the people who really created them but who are missing out on the exploitation). It's actually a pretty common phenomenon; hashtags are just the latest victim. #Jazz #Rap #MOOC
A Gates-funded startup is shutting down over privacy and security concerns. "The nonprofit's goal was to give educators a data-based tool to personalize instruction. InBloom, based in Atlanta, offered to store and synthesize student data, such as grades, disciplinary actions and disability records in cloud-based servers."
This interview with Donna Fry gives you a sense of what it's like to teach and learn in northern Ontario, and insight into some of the work being undertaken to support that, including OSSEMOOC. "We need to help school and system leaders build capacity, and connections. They need to have a good understanding of educational technology, but they also need to know who to consult with before making decisions. So with #OSSEMOOC, we are trying to build that capacity and those connections."
This is a nifty idea: "Every time you hit a paywall blocking your research, click the button. Fill out a short form, add your experience to the map along with thousands of others. Then use our tools to search for access to papers, and spread the word with social media." Here's the associated crowdfunding press release.
I really like the idea of student-led conferences, though I think they should be used more imaginatively than to "present to their parents about the state of their learning." Why can't they be real conferences about real things, presenting original work and research they devised on their own? This would allow them to appeal to all students (one wonders how many lives would have been changed were the industrial arts students' work valued and presented as just as important as academic work (or for that matter were academic and industrial arts work valued and presented as just as important as athletics)). But more to the point, we have to get away from this: "I am writing what my teachers want to hear, but not really what I think." Why not create student-led conferences that are genuine examples of students' interests? (p.s. the name of the blog is finally explained here).
Interesting look at the use of fingerprints for identification. The concept depends on two things: first, something called zero-knowledge proof, wherein the system knows that the fingerprint-based login was successful, but never has a copy of the fingerprint itself, and second (and related) the use of local devices to log you into remote services ("You’ ve always got a finger and a phone, so logging in isn’ t a problem, but the combination makes the security much, much harder to break"). The specification is being promoted by the FIDO Alliance, which includes most major vendors (except, of course, Apple, which never plays well with others). As for me, I would not mourn the passing of the password.
Following the recent election for the Steering Committee of the Network of Academics and Professionals we would like to thank all the people who participated in the election. We are pleased to inform you that the following NAP members have been voted to join the Steering Committee: click to see the list.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.”
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 [...]