In this presentation I outline major aspects of the learning and performance support systems (LPSS) program as it relates to open education environments. In particular I focus on understanding OERs as words, aggregating and analyzing OERs, data representation, and learner production and sharing of OERs. I conclude with a number of brief case studies of how work in LPSS supports this perspective. Full paper available here: http://www.downes.ca/files/docs/Open_Education_and_Personal_Learning.docx
Open Education Global, Banff, Alberta (Keynote) Apr 23, 2015 [Comment]
The big news this week is that Arizona Statue University will in effect replace first year studies with MOOCs (that's probably an overstatement, but it will do for now). This article draws out some implications and major underlying issues (these are all quoted from the article):
Prior learning assessment -- the mechanism by which credit is granted -- is not covered by financial aid.
there’ s nothing stopping someone now from taking a MOOC in a “ gen ed” area and then taking a CLEP exam to get credit.
ASU took a nasty funding cut from the state, and responded by growing its reach (contrast with LSU, which is attempting to survive though massive cuts)
the edX partnership allows ASU to move failures off-book, thereby keeping its success rates high.
many of us in higher ed think of it as an ecosystem. ASU may have decided that it’ s actually a Hobbesian war of each against all
the partnership is a desperate attempt to provide something resembling a business model for MOOCs.
In my view, higher education institutions should consider themselves lucky that the MOOCs provided by EdX are replacing first year. There will not be much talk of expanding the model, and the failure rate will we high, Had something like the Connectivist MOOCs and the cooperative approach taken hold, the damage to traditional institutions would have been much greater, as students would have propelled each other to success in spite of, not because of, the institution.
I can't say I exactly agree with the arguments outlined in this article, but it's important to read and understand this defense of the Byzantine system that is the college accreditation process. Bernard Fryshman offers a spirited argument. "There is wide recognition that relying on these proposed quantitative measures has weakened accreditation, with collateral damage. Thus, colleges that were focused on a financial bottom line rather than on student learning found it easy to produce numbers that satisfied quantitative guidelines, but said little or nothing about the learning taking place." There are two presumptions, of course: first, that the numbers are indeed proxies, and second, that the current process of peer review actually does ensure that learning takes place.
Anya Kamanetz reviews a new book that makes an old argument. Drawing on the 'paradox of choice', it is argues that college students should be required to select majors and choose from a more limited set of options. Just as people given fewer choices of jam are more likely to buy jam, it is suggested, people given fewer choices in college are more likely to finish college. It's a seductive argument, because it's always tempting to trade freedom for efficiency. But over and above making the trains run on time, what is there to recommend this approach? If the investment in college weren't so risky for students, maybe it wouldn't matter that they got out rather than continue through a less ideal program. The book is Redesigning America's Community Colleges and the authors, three Columbia University education researchers (who no doubt were not streamed when they made their education choices).
There's no shortage of plans to create new educational credentialing currencies. Here's why: "Why don’ t we see a mass exodus of students bailing out of colleges and saving themselves tens of thousands of tuition dollars by testing out of their core courses? Simply put, navigating the opaque and Byzantine system of credit transfer rules makes discovering the Higgs-Boson particle look like kindergarten." The problem is that such an environment not only makes currency opaque, it also creates an excellent environment for counterfeiting.
This is particularly interesting in light of some of the discussions today at OEGlobal arount the topic of digital literacy. Because (to me) what good does digital literacy do for you if you are unable to reason your way out of the most basic scientific fallacy. Some of this stuff is pretty basic. "Forzani found that fewer than 4 percent of students could correctly identify the author of an online information source, evaluate that author's expertise and point of view, and make informed judgments about the overall reliability of the site they were reading." Now having said that, I wonder what standard Forzani uses to assess scientific literacy. It's not clear to me that the community as a whole has a good understanding of critical literacies.
In a world where exams mean everything, the verification of identity is key. ProctorU is the lastest entry into an increasingly crowded field. The mechanism is similar to Coursera's: "the process begins with a live proctor, who views the student via webcam and checks his or her government-issued ID... Ucard then validates the student's identity through a series of questions based on public data records." And then there's "keystroke analysis software" that creates a user profile.
The EDEN NAP Steering Committee continues the dialogue and develop #EDENChat. In the run up to the EDEN summer conference Expanding Learning Scenarios,we will discuss some of the themes of the event, culminating in several live chats direct from the conference itself. Here's the preliminary schedule:
The Executive Committee of EDEN is happy to announce that Prof. Belinda Tynan, Pro-Vice Chancellor of The Open University, UK has been co-opted as Executive Committee member of the Association. We are also pleased to announce, that the Executive Committee elected Deborah Arnold, Deputy Director, La Passerelle at the University of Burgundy as Vice-President of the Association.
Last year, Jisc began work with EDUCAUSE - the US organisation for IT professionals in higher education - to find out the skillset of the CIO of the future.
One of the findings of our project was that many aspiring technology leaders find it difficult to make the step up. Louisa Dale, director Jisc group sector intelligence, talks us through some of the learnings and opens a call for IT professionals to get involved in the next phase of work.
Praise is given to the efficiency savings achieved by universities, estimated at £1.38bn between 2005 and 2011, and the adoption of shared services have made a vital contribution to this sum. However, there is a clear message that UK HE must do more to emulate the business world and further embrace a culture of collaboration if it is to remain competitive on an international stage.
As next steps, the report highlights the opportunities for universities to streamline processes and create new efficiencies across internal departments, and with other institutions.
“We welcome this report, which shows our sector is awake to the excellent opportunities that come with sharing functions, facilities and expertise. We are increasingly recognising that when we come together, we put the UK in the best competitive position.”
The report mentions a number of successful initiatives already in use that are increasing productivity and opening up access to expensive research assets. For example, Kit-Catalogue, a searchable online database of publically bookable equipment, developed by Loughborough University and subsequently taken in-house by Jisc, allows universities to pool their resources to create high technological capabilities.
“What’s interesting is that some of the most successful shared services have not always been thought of as such. Jisc’s role in providing the Janet network which provides an internet connection for UK education and research institutions, now over 30 years old, probably makes it the first true example of shared services in UK HE. Universities and colleges all around the UK are reliant on this world class infrastructure.
We see shared services as vital for the future of HE and will look to review and refine our offer to support everyone in the sector. We look forward to working with the project team and the Efficiency Exchange to progress the recommendations.”
Jisc is actively looking to support this agenda, making it easier for universities to benefit from shared infrastructure. Last year Jisc launched the UK’s first shared data centre for education and research, which is helping to lower the operational costs and increase collaboration between some of the UK’s leading research institutions.
We believe there is significant potential from taking a shared approach to new developments and work is already underway, including a business intelligence tool, developed in conjunction with HESA, that will bring together data from all UK universities, and our brokerage work on supercomputing which makes £60m of publicly funded facilities and expertise available under a standard contractual template.
Jisc is sponsoring the innovation technology excellence category in the inaugural Herald Higher Education Awards, the first awards to recognise best practice specifically in Scottish higher education. Jason Miles-Campbell, head of Jisc Scotland and Jisc Northern Ireland, tells us about the awards and how to enter.
John Chapman, information security policy and strategy manager at Jisc, describes how a recent consultation is informing development of some new security products and services. Read the original blog post.
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 [...]