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MOOCs need to go back to their roots. Photo by William Perugi/Shutterstock This back-to-school season has also brought a wide range of developments in the online education space known as MOOCs: massively open online courses. While MOOCs vary in the details, most are free, taught by professors, and are solely for the edification of the student—not for credit. In recent weeks, we’ve seen announcements for the Open Education Alliance, a partnership between the state of California, Udacity, and a host of major tech companies, and Google combining its Course Builder software with Ivy League MOOC consortium EdX, making it easier for top notch professors to use the curriculum development equivalent of Gmail or Blogger But announcements are not results, and MOOCs, hailed as the saviors of higher education when they burst into public awareness in 2012, have had trouble living up to the hype. There’s a dirty little secret at the heart of education: We don’t really know what learning is, how people best do it, or how to measure it.

Information Architecture Basics Information architecture (IA) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. The goal is to help users find information and complete tasks. To do this, you need to understand how the pieces fit together to create the larger picture, how items relate to each other within the system. Why a Well Thought Out IA Matters According to Peter Morville , the purpose of your IA is to help users understand where they are, what they’ve found, what’s around, and what to expect. Are We Training Our Students to be Robots? — Bright There may be unintended consequences to bringing technology into the classroom. By danah boyd Excited about the possibility that he would project his creativity onto paper, I handed my 1-year-old son a crayon.

Mooc creators criticise courses’ lack of creativity Original vision lost in scramble for profit and repackaging of old ideas, say pair Source: Stephen Downes Look what they’ve done to my Mooc: ‘as deployed by commercial providers they resemble television shows or digital textbooks with – at best – an online quiz component,’ argues Stephen Downes When The New York Times declared 2012 the “Year of the Mooc”, you would have been forgiven for thinking that the term – which stands for “massive open online course” – had been coined some time that year. Not so.

Information Architecture 2.0 By Dan Brown Published: November 1, 2005 “The … explosion of content and functionality on the Web and the new ways in which we’re making use of Web content has recast the role of the information architect.” The typical information architect thinks about structure—how one item in a group relates to all the other items in the group and how that group relates to all other groups. Three Ways to Improve Technology-Assisted Learning — Bright Innovation in education requires cheap iteration, great listening skills, and “exaptation.” By Matt Candler I loved reading Peg’s piece, especially her take on effective personalized learning at Bricolage Academy — a school I’ve watched grow from an idea in Josh Densen’s head to a thriving community fulfilling many of its promises. While I agree with Peg’s frustrations about personalized and blended learning overall, her focus on myth-busting stops short of explaining how innovative schools like Bricolage actually get the way they are.

Massive Open Online Courses Prove Popular, if Not Lucrative Yet The co-founders, computer science professors at Stanford University, watched with amazement as enrollment passed two million last month, with 70,000 new students a week signing up for over 200 courses, including Human-Computer Interaction, Songwriting and Gamification, taught by faculty members at the company’s partners, 33 elite universities. In less than a year, Coursera has attracted $22 million in venture capital and has created so much buzz that some universities sound a bit defensive about not leaping onto the bandwagon. Other approaches to online courses are emerging as well. Universities nationwide are increasing their online offerings, hoping to attract students around the world.

Information Architecture - What It Is And What An Information Architect Does The term information architecture is now being widely used to describe the structure and organization of information on a website and how it all fits together. The information architecture of a site can be depicted through a site map, in a diagram or on a spreadsheet. Designers and website owners who want to make a site work for a better user experience can achieve this by planning the IA before looking into the elements of navigation – the links, menus and other interface elements that are depicted in wireframes. Modern web design has to put the needs of users first, and planning the information architecture for a site is an essential part of creating the best user experience, which leads to greater interaction and a higher conversion rate. To gain a good understanding of IA and how it can be used to help improve the user experience, you need to know exactly what is involved in the work of an information architect. Image source

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