background preloader

Elite education for the masses

Elite education for the masses
They included Patrycja Jablonska in Poland, Ephraim Baron in California, Mohammad Hijazi in Lebanon and many others far from Baltimore who ordinarily would not have a chance to study at the elite Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They logged on to a Web site called Coursera and signed up. They paid nothing for it. These students, a sliver of the more than 1.7 million who have registered with Coursera since April, reflect a surge of interest this year in free online learning that could reshape higher education. The phenomenon puts big issues on the table: the growth of tuition, the role of a professor, the definition of a student, the value of a degree and even the mission of universities. “Massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, have caught fire in academia. “I can’t use another word than unbelievable,” Caffo said. For universities, the word for it is revolutionary. MOOC students, for the most part, aren’t earning credit toward degrees. But it is alluring. Giving it away Related:  Ed Reform

6 Ideas to Avoid the Activity Trap Last week, I wrote about the pitfalls of non-strategic activity in a post entitled, Don’t Confuse Activity with Accomplishment. Most of the leaders I know would admit, we unwittingly find ourselves in this trap from time to time. Or perhaps most treacherous, we find ourselves doing things that add value – but not the highest value. When this happens, we’ve let the good become the enemy of the best. How can we guard our calendars and our lives from these lesser activities? Here are a few ideas that may help. Determine your priorities. Schedule your priorities. Delegate freely. Outsource. Stop doing 2nd tier activities. Reevaluate constantly. The Activity Trap is alluring. Openness, the double bind, and ecologies of yearning. » EdTech@VCCS I’ve seen my share of conference keynotes, some tedious, some exhilarating, many forgettable. But I have never seen a keynote quite like the one delivered by Gardner Campbell on the morning of the first day of the OpenEd Conference. In fact, calling it a keynote is a disservice. It was more of a meditation. For me, Gardner’s remarks, titled Ecologies of Yearning and the Future of Open Education, articulated the sense of vague discomfort I currently feel regarding the mainstream adoption of open learning. What we are seeing are developments in the higher education landscape that appear to meet every single one of the criteria we have set forth for open education: increased access, decreased cost, things that will allow more people than ever, on a planetary scale–1 billion individual learners at a time customize their education, fit it into their busy lives, earn a paycheck, find a path to a glorious vocational future. He answers quoting T.S. Like this: Like Loading...

The future of learning management People familiar with my blog will know that I’m not a member of the anti-LMS brigade. On the contrary, I think a Learning Management System is a valuable piece of educational technology – particularly in large organisations. It is indispensible for managing registrations, deploying e-learning, marking grades, recording completion statuses, centralising performance agreements and documenting performance appraisals. In other words – and the name gives it away – an LMS is useful for managing learning. Yet while LMSs are widely used in the corporate sector, I suspect they are not being used to their full potential. I think of informal learning. And I wonder how we can acknowledge all of that learning. No – the way we can acknowledge informal learning is via assessment. The assessment need not be a multiple-choice quiz (although I am not necessarily against such a device), nor need it be online. In this way, the purpose of learning shifts from activity to outcome. Enter Tin Can. Enter Plurality.

"The Danger of the Single Story" About Digital Immigrants and Natives EDC MOOC Week 1 Reading "Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives": Prensky warns ‘immigrant’ teachers that they face irrelevance unless they figure out how to adapt their methods and approaches to new generations of learners. When reading this paper, try to identify the strategies that Prensky uses to make his argument - how does the language he uses work to persuade the reader? Who are ‘we’ and who are ‘they’? What associations do you have with the idea of the ‘native’ and the ‘immigrant’, and how helpful are these in understanding teacher-student relationships? My father is 78 years old. Fast forward to the late 90s. Where I'm getting at with my family anecdotes about digital connections is that in the United States, when we are afraid to call things as they are, we make up all these colorful euphemisms, so we make people feel better about themselves. Unfortunately too many K-12 teachers in the United States fear the politics and seek asylum remaining in a colorless analog world.

Uncomfortable Conversations in Education Click to enlarge. In the past week I have read a couple of posts that mention the importance of uncomfortable conversations in education. Having uncomfortable or unpopular conversations is kryptonite for the echo chamber effect that often plagues meetings, conferences, chats and any other space, online and off, that brings people together. In a recent reflection Going Beyond the Converted: Reflections from Edcamp Leadership BC Aaron Akune, Vice-Principal at Delta Secondary School in Ladner B.C asks “Why is it that we continue to repeat the same conversations?” Aaron writes: I’d argue that too often we are afraid to wade into uncomfortable conversations where we may be challenged to justify and defend our positions. Aaron highlights three important points: 1. I think it’s ok that we keep having these same discussions. Our rehashing of decades old topics also suggests that we are still invested and that is a good thing. 2. 3.

The Ecologies of Yearning #opened12 (with image, tweets) · audreywatters Ecology of ideas -- Bateson Bateson's Hierarchy of Learning Zero learning: "receipt of signal." No error possible Learning 1: "change in specificity of response by correction of errors of choice within a set of alternatives." Learning 2: learning to learn; premises are self-validating (trap at this moment because of this) Learning 3: meta-contextual perspective; puts self at risk; questions become explosive; this is not just adaptation, habitation -- strategies where you can choose to adapt or not; this is where we become most human, says Bateson. Learning 4: "probably does not occur in any adult living organisms on this earth" The hierarchy is discontinuous communication can be magically modified by communication there's something about a double bind that is a prison and the way out "transcontextual syndrome" beyond access and cost not merely open education but opening the possibility for networked transcontextualism. Don't fake the double-take The global open access brothel of non-learning

Keeping MOOCs Open MOOCs — or Massive Open Online Courses — have been getting a lot of attention lately. Just in the last year or so, there’s been immense interest in the potential for large scale online learning, with significant investments being made in companies (Coursera, Udacity, Udemy), similar non-profit initiatives (edX) and learning management systems (Canvas, Blackboard). The renewed interest in MOOCs was ignited after last year’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course offered via Stanford University, when over 160,000 people signed up to take the free online course. The idea of large-scale, free online education has been around for quite some time. A central component to these earlier iterations of the MOOC was the dual meaning of “open.” The original MOOCs…were “open” in two respects. These dual characteristics of “open” are also core to Open Educational Resources (OER). One goal of MOOCs is to serve tens / hundreds of thousands more people with high-quality educational content.

The Twitter Revolution Must Die Have you ever heard of the Leica Revolution? No? That’s probably because folks who don’t know anything about “branding” insist on calling it the Mexican Revolution. An estimated two million people died in the long struggle (1910-1920) to overthrow a despotic government and bring about reform. But why shouldn’t we re-name the revolution not after a nation or its people, but after the “social media” that had such a great impact in making the struggle known all over the world: the photographic camera? My sarcasm is, of course, a thinly veiled attempt to point out how absurd it is to refer to events in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere as the Twitter Revolution, the Facebook Revolution, and so on. “… I am glad that Tunisians were able to utilize social media to bring attention to their plight. Both sides are, perhaps, engaging in a bit of technological determinism–one by embellishing the agency of technology, the other by diminishing it. [Ulises A.

AP Classes Are a Scam - John Tierney The College Board earns over half of all its revenues from the courses -- and, in an uncertain environment, students keep being suckered. Fraudulent schemes come in all shapes and sizes. To work, they typically wear a patina of respectability. That's the case with Advanced Placement courses, one of the great frauds currently perpetrated on American high-school students. That's a pretty strong claim, right? The miscellany of AP courses offered in U.S. high schools under the imprimatur of the College Board probably started with good intentions. Sounds pretty good. Interestingly, the evidence providing the clearest positive argument for AP participation is that high performance in AP courses correlates with better college grades and higher graduation rates, especially in science courses. My beef with AP courses isn't novel. AP courses are not, in fact, remotely equivalent to the college-level courses they are said to approximate. The college admissions process today is a total crapshoot.