Framed around the LPSS program, and looking at specific issues such as workplace learning and literacy, this discussion outlines some of my views on the problems we are trying to solve, the applicability of the solutions we are creating, and the question of broader social needs being served by the program. I am in one window; Valerie Irvine and John Kenney are in the other.
According to this press release issued by IMS, the new organization will be called the Digital Learning Metadata Alliance and can be found at dlma.org - "The first incarnation of DLMA work will be the metadata schema for EDUPUB a joint collaboration between IDPF and IMS Global to enable e-books that are interoperable across reader platforms, web browsers and educational systems (such as learning platforms and learning tools)." Dublin Core just the other day assumed formal responsibility over the learning resource metadata initiative (LRMI). The significant feature of this annpouncement is the inclusion of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), which is "the global trade and standards organization for the digital publishing industry."
Despite all the emphasis on how important teaching and testing are for improving educational outcomes, the fact remains that the worst results from higher-income schools are still better than the best results from low-income schools. This is why education alone is not sufficient to provide opportunities to youth. Governments also have to be focused on measures that address equity, in order to lower the pervasive impact of poverty on outcomes. Measures that do not address this cause are not (despite the rhetoric) addressing outcomes; they are addressing some other objective, an objective the proponents do not want to talk about.
Herbert Pimlott writes, "The growing number of precarious academic workers teaching an ever-larger number of undergraduate students is a threat. It is a threat to our profession, with serious implications for our working conditions, our compensation, and the future of collegial governance. It is also a threat to the existence of higher education and the public university as we know it. Indeed, it is also part of the tale of Canada’ s shrinking middle class."
Phil Hill onmtroduces us to this interesting site that assembles statistics on technology usage in education, creating useful visualizations in the process. LISTedTECH wiki used to run on Drupal, but has since converted to a MediaWiki. This makes it a lot easier for people to add content (though sadly the RSS feeds are not useful). " LISTedTECH was created by Justin Menard, who is Business Intelligence Senior Analyst at University of Ottawa," writes Hill. "The site is broader in scope than just the LMS – there is a rich source of data & visualizations on MOOCs, university rankings, and IPEDS data. Most of the visualizations are presented by Tableau and therefore interactive in nature, allowing the user to filter data, zoom in on geographic data, etc."
Isaac Asimov was very influential on me ion my youth, and I read many of the dozens and dozens of books he authored. This essay is a previously unpublished article he wrote on creativity, and it is not surprising to see the affinity between my own thought and what he wrote. "What is needed," he writes, "is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected." And, "Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a 'new idea,' but as a mere 'corollary of an old idea.'"
We teach people this stuff. We who create technology and media, who shape thought and opinion, who set examples and and work in public - we are the ones who make it OK to shame and harass and threaten and all the rest.
Today I read that Felicia Day, creator of the (great!) online show about gaming, The Guild, has been doxxed for writing a post on #gamergate (to 'doxx' someone is to expose their personal information, such as their home address, online, thus opening them up to harassment and stalking). She had been mostly silent, she says, because "I have been terrified of inviting a deluge of abusive and condescending tweets into my timeline." It turns out her fears were justified. In this post, John Spencer directly draws the link between #gamergate and education. "People are way too quick to minimize the misogyny that exists online," he writes. "I wrote a post about not shaming girls who break dress code and faced a barrage of trolling." He adds, "the misogyny and sexism is rampant at tech conferences. Go visit the vendor hall and see the number of companies that hire women based upon their looks to be the 'booth girls.' You don't have to look hard to find the objectification."
This is one of the pieces that operates behind the scenes and is necessary for smooth automation of e-learning systems. "IPTC's RightsML, based on W3C CG's ODRL is the standard for expressing permissions and restrictions for digital content for the news industry. The latest report on progress in implementing RightsML, including a new Python library for creating rights expressions in XML and JSON." Good shoer presentation with a bunch of workflow flow charts describing how rights are managed. The author, Stuart Myles, is Director of Information Management at Associated Press.
Join EDEN's Eighth Research Workshop (EDENRW8), to be held in Oxford on 27-28 October 2014 ('zero day' 26 October). We are pleased, that the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mohammed Abbasi will honour the Welcome Reception with his presence.
See the invitation video of the EDEN President: VIDEO
In collaboration with:
founding member of EDEN
The theme and scope of EDENRW8 reflects the current challenges facing researchers and the intersection of their work with ‘doing better things’ for key stakeholders.
When an organization is leading its field as EDEN does, it needs to break through uncharted ground. Building a roadmap becomes therefore a critical task. Our network should feel proud on how it is successfully finding its way through a rapidly changing landscape.
The report highlights the £200m annual savings from the current shared infrastructure provided by Jisc and charts the potential for new shared services – including a ‘university in a box’ concept that could free up university spending on technology for reinvestment in research, teaching and learning.
Ahead of anticipated changes to Jisc’s funding model, the report warns that policymakers and institutions need to recognise the value generated through the UK’s shared infrastructure for higher and further education.
Jisc works with every publicly financed higher education and further education institution in the UK, more than 600 in total, and is one of the key pillars on which the world class reputation of the education sector depends.
Nick Hillman, director of HEPI, said:
"Ministers and civil servants have not had to worry about IT infrastructure in our universities because it has generally worked well. That reflects Jisc’s world-beating success. Other countries look jealously at our successful shared service.
Jisc’s achievements, which often take place off the radar, are in stark contrast to other big IT projects, which have typically been over budget, late and not fit for purpose. Yet forthcoming changes could make Jisc a victim of its own success. Funding changes will put the onus on individual universities to subscribe to Jisc’s services for the first time.
In the rearview mirror, Jisc’s history looks comparatively smooth but the road ahead is bumpy and laden with obstacles. The best way to address those challenges is to recognise the benefits of collective provision for individual institutions and the education sector as a whole."
The author of the report, Martyn Harrow, said:
"Jisc does the things that it makes sense to do on a UK level once rather than a hundred times over. If our coverage were to be reduced because of decision making that is not informed by the full value that the UK’s infrastructure brings to each institution, that would put the economies of scale and the specialised knowledge that we provide in danger.
There has never been a more important time for institutions to think about their use of technology. A new dialogue is needed at the highest level of each and every university to determine how the digital needs of their institution will be met, both in the immediate future and in the longer term.
We have a great opportunity in the years ahead to make the most of new developments in technology. If the UK is to cement its competitive advantage in higher and further education, we need to help universities tackle the new challenges head on."
Jisc is enabling researchers across the UK to safely and securely share health data to progress their research with a collaborative initiative.
This initiative is showcasing how the UK’s research and education network Janet, provided by Jisc, can offer additional controls and safeguards for researchers working with sensitive data.
Jisc is working in partnership with leading UK universities to support three new initiatives. Rather than each of the research programmes and organisations developing one-off solutions to manage collaborative secure communication and user authentication between partners, Jisc is securing the networks across the organisations so that approved researchers working in one partner organisation can gain access to the data they need wherever it is stored.
The first is the development of the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, a UK-wide virtual organisation with four connection points and ten funding organisations. The Farr Institute provides a cutting-edge collaborative infrastructure for the safe use of patient and research data for medical research. This will lead to advances in preventative medicine, improvements in NHS care and better development of commercial drugs and diagnostics. It will also allow researchers to discover new insights into the causes of ill health, which in turn will lead to new therapies.
The second initiative, Medical Bioinformatics, is funded by the Medical Research Council, and will provide capacity for the safe use and analysis of biological and patient data for medical research across all diseases.
Jeremy Sharp, Janet's director of strategic technologies, says:
“Providing researchers with controlled access to data and resources through the network is key to enabling them to focus on their research. In validating this use of the Janet network for sensitive, anonymised health data, we are ensuring that the UK’s investment in Janet will reap larger returns in the future and continue to respond to the considerable challenges facing those people who are doing valuable work analysing large quantities of data.”
The longer term aim is to create the conditions for a national infrastructure for secure access to data for researchers across various academic disciplines.
John Ainsworth, senior research fellow at the University of Manchester and e-infrastructure lead for the Farr Institute, says:
“The network is changing the way we do data analysis. It will provide a secure infrastructure for collaboration and the sharing of resources for data science. This will enable researchers to concentrate on what they do best – discovering new knowledge.”
Successful proposals will have to demonstrate considerations of metadata, ‘curriculum mapping’ and Creative Commons licences are an integral part of the proposal to ensure the resources are discoverable, relevant and recyclable.
The aim is that these online interactive resources will help to improve access to and exploitation of open educational resources (OERs). The commissioned content will be deposited on the national repository for open educational resources, Jorum and made available for teachers and learners to share and exploit.
Ruth Hansford, manager of the interactive learning resources for skills project at Jisc, says:
“There is a time-honoured teacher tradition of spending evenings creating learning materials, taking them into work and swapping them over the photocopier. But how do teachers in the FE and skills sector locate and exploit suitable learning content in the digital age?
We’re offering the possibility to create varied and high-quality multimedia and interactive content which will be available to all in the sector.”
Hairdressing students and their lecturers will now be able to access Jisc's pioneering Hairdressing Training videos any time, anywhere through their mobile.
From today the award-winning service Hairdressing Training will be available as a mobile app. The app showcases the existing portfolio of hairdressing and barbering training videos developed by Mimas, a part of Jisc.
There are many benefits to mobile learning. Research by the former Learning and Skills Network (LSN)1 has found that the use of mobile technologies in work-based and vocational learning contexts can result in increased:
engagement with the topic
flexibility of learning
learner retention and achievement
personalisation of learning
access to learning resources
To maximise these benefits further the videos included in the app were created by those who teach NVQ/SVQ Levels 1-3 in further education in the UK, ensuring accuracy for learning and teaching.
The app is an easy way to view over 60 educational hairdressing training and barbering video tutorials – all mapped to the NVQ curriculum. Users will be able to save their favourite videos to a playlist and even share them socially. The videos are organised into different categories, making searching simple, and new content will be added when available.
Susanne Boyle, senior manager for learning, teaching and professional skills at Mimas, a part of Jisc, says:
"The Hairdressing Training service is a mature and highly valued service. It is much-loved and well-used and has grown over the years, with training videos amassing 1000s of hits on YouTube. It’s predominantly used by further education teachers and students but also by those who work in salons, both in the UK and abroad.
The launch of the mobile app is another exciting development and offers our users the benefits of flexible access 24/7, supplying quality resources at their fingertips."
Lorraine Estelle, Jisc’s executive director digital resources and divisional CEO of Jisc Collections, said:
“Our vision is to ensure that learners and teachers realise the benefits of mobile technology by delivering content onto any device, at any time and anywhere. This app is an important step in realising this vision and improving the student experience.”
Currently the app has been optimised for use on mobile devices only. A version for iPads and other handheld tablets may be looked at in the future.
The Hairdressing Training app is available to download for iOS devices from the Apple Store and for Android devices from Google Play.
Research in the UK has been given a boost this week as specialist data centre provider, Infinity, has secured a five year framework agreement with Janet, the UK’s national research and education network, provided by Jisc.
The deal sees the creation of a Jisc data centre to support the requirements for academic research and will be the first shared data centre for medical and academic research in the UK. The funding of approximately £900,000 to make the facility happen has been provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
At launch, in September 2014, the Jisc data centre will house the IT of a consortium of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations.
Tim Marshall, executive director Jisc technologies and CEO Janet said:
“By having the shared data centre users can access off-site data storage and services. This world-leading facility will mean that users can consolidate their sensitive data in one safe environment and increase collaboration, whilst saving money both in terms of their operational costs and by not having to repeatedly procure facilities.
The data centre will be connected to the Janet network core and part of its backbone, therefore facilitating access, reducing costs and meeting the bandwidth requirements of large data sets. As space becomes premium on campus this is a significant step on the journey to the cloud and already indications are that this will be a major breakthrough for the UK education and research community.”
Infinity will operate the data centre at its flagship Slough data centre in the UK. The design combines a traditional three tier datacentre with a flexible range of low to high power rack densities and an aggregated discount pricing structure across all organisations using the service, ensuring that the infrastructure is workload focused and value driven. This is the first large scale example of high performance computer environments being placed in an outsourced co-location facility.
Stuart Sutton, Infinity’s CEO, says:
“Infinity is immensely proud to be selected as the best in class data centre provider for the development of this nationally important facility. The work that the education and research sectors do can be life changing and the technology used will further the UK’s position as a global leader in medical and academic research. We are extremely pleased to be a part of that.
The creation of an unsurpassed community of interest for the education and research sectors here at Infinity Slough is a fantastic opportunity for us and something that we are very excited about. Infinity’s flexible and innovative approach to data centre services was key to securing this deal.
This is a great example of Infinity’s opinion that the outsourced DC market is no longer a place for property transactions – it is a flexible, scalable, partnership that delivers an important component to the overall IT solution. We look forward to working collaboratively with Jisc.”
The new Jisc data centre which will grow to more than 800 racks’ capacity will be a significant enabler in achieving its aims of improving the speed and quality of UK research. This will allow the community to share large swathes of data, helping to push the traditional boundaries of teaching, learning and research methods. For researchers, the high capacity of the Janet network backbone allows the linking of large data storage and high performance computing facilities at national and international levels.
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 [...]