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» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky

» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky
Fifteen years ago, a research group called The Fraunhofer Institute announced a new digital format for compressing movie files. This wasn’t a terribly momentous invention, but it did have one interesting side effect: Fraunhofer also had to figure out how to compress the soundtrack. The result was the Motion Picture Experts Group Format 1, Audio Layer III, a format you know and love, though only by its acronym, MP3. The recording industry concluded this new audio format would be no threat, because quality mattered most. Who would listen to an MP3 when they could buy a better-sounding CD at the record store? Then Napster launched, and quickly became the fastest-growing piece of software in history. If Napster had only been about free access, control of legal distribution of music would then have returned the record labels. How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war? The people in the music industry weren’t stupid, of course. But who faces that choice?

Essay critiques the ideas of Clay Shirky and others advocating higher ed disruption Clay Shirky is a big thinker, and I read him because he’s consistently worth reading. But he’s not always right – and his thinking (and the flaws in it) is typical of the unquestioning enthusiasm of many thinkers today about technology and higher education. In his recent piece on "Napster, Udacity, and the Academy," for example, Shirky is not only guardedly optimistic about the ways that MOOCs and online education will transform higher education, but he takes for granted that they will, that there is no alternative. Just as inevitably as digital sharing turned the music industry on its head, he pronounces, so it is and will be with digital teaching. And as predictably as rain, he anticipates that "we" in academe will stick our heads in the sand, will deny the inevitable -- as the music industry did with Napster -- and will "screw this up as badly as the music people did." His views are shared by many in the "disruption" school of thought about higher education.

Essay on how MOOCs raise questions about the definition of student Clay Shirky and Jay Rosen have popularized the phrase “People Formerly Known as the Audience” to describe the evolution of contemporary media consumers from mere listeners or viewers into interactive and demanding participants. A similar redefinition of roles is emerging in conversations about the consumers of massive open online courses. With a student-faculty ratio of, in some cases, 150,000: 1, the teacher of a MOOC may well struggle to define his or her relationship to an audience of course-takers who do and do not resemble traditional "students." In a recent Twitter exchange, media scholars Siva Vaidhyathan and Cathy Davidson debated the question of whether people enrolled in a MOOC are accurately described as “students.” @CathyNDavidson asked, "Are they really all 'students' or merely 'registrants'?"

Three Kinds of MOOCs By Lisa, on August 15th, 2012 We are so into MOOCs now that it’s too much for me. Gotta apply Ockham’s Razor 2.0 to this stuff. At the Ed-Media conference, I attended a session by Sarah Schrire of Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv. Online courses need human element to educate Online courses are proliferating, says Douglas Rushkoff, but will really succeed when they bring humanity to learning process Douglas Rushkoff: Education is under threat, but online computer courses are not to blameHe says education's value hard to measure; is it for making money or being engaged?He says Massive Open Online Courses lack human exchange with teachersRushkoff: MOOCs should bring together people to share studies, maintain education's humanity

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 MOOC: lancement de la plate-forme nationale, ça va être FUN Coup de théâtre dans le milieu académique français. Mme Fioraso, Ministre de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, annonçait mercredi matin le lancement de la plate-forme nationale pour MOOC dans le cadre du programme France Université Numérique (ouverture courant octobre, site de présentation à cette adresse). Ce nouveau site dédié aux établissements français est destiné à héberger dès janvier prochain ses premiers cours.

Open online courses – an avalanche that might just get stopped These days there are plenty of prophets preaching hi-tech and digital solutions to the problems of expanding access to knowledge and higher education. Barely a week goes by without some new hymn to education technology, open-source software or open-access publishing. In the US, the growing chorus for online education through massive open online courses, or moocs, has been deafening. But in Britain, it has barely registered. Last December, the commercial launch of the Open University's mooc platform, FutureLearn, attracted the participation of a dozen universities and the support of David Willetts, but little response from Britain's beleaguered academics. No wonder that last month Sir Michael Barber, the chief education adviser of Pearson, the world's largest profit-making education provider, proclaimed that universities were powerless to stop the online avalanche.

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. Osez la MOOR La première conférence européenne d’envergure (sur les MOOC, on s’entend) est organisée en février à l’Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Nous assisterons à la première grand-messe de la communauté européenne. Recherche, pratique, politique, technologie, c’est une véritable kermesse. En ce qui me concerne, il est absolument vital que je parvienne à publier un article dans cette conférence. La deadline pour la soumission de l’article était initialement prévue pour ce soir, mais a été repoussée de deux semaines suite à de multiples protestations. Je propose ni plus ni moins à ceux qui le veulent de travailler avec moi de façon crowdsourcée à la finalisation de cet article, et de découvrir ensemble la M.O.O.R, ou Massive Open Online Research.

Quelles sont les différents types de plates-formes de MOOC et comment choisir celle qui nous convient ? Le développement des MOOC, initié par les différents facteurs évoqués lors de notre précédent article, est à la fois soutenu et alimenté par les nombreuses possibilités techniques offertes à tous ceux qui souhaitent diffuser leur cours en ligne. Effectivement, l’aspect communautaire lié au MOOC a poussé au lancement de nombreux outils de création, de mise en ligne et de gestion des MOOC, tous plus ou moins destinés à faciliter le partage des cours. Des outils simples et performants étant ce qu’il y a de plus efficace pour aider un enseignant à se lancer. Il existe donc non seulement des plates-formes lancées développées par de grandes universités qui se chargent de les maintenir et de fournir le contenu, mais on peut également trouver des outils open source que l’on peut employer uniquement pour la publication sans forcément avoir l’âme d’un développeur.

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. Second Week Reflections: Social Learning in a MOOC Posted by Derek Bruff on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 in Meeting Notes, Reflections. Our discussion on Monday of the social aspects of learning in a MOOC was an interesting one. It’s clear that many of us are benefiting from the interactions we’re having with our local study group, although I wonder what our study group members who weren’t present on Monday would say about that.

The Crisis in Higher Education A hundred years ago, higher education seemed on the verge of a technological revolution. The spread of a powerful new communication network—the modern postal system—had made it possible for universities to distribute their lessons beyond the bounds of their campuses. Anyone with a mailbox could enroll in a class. Frederick Jackson Turner, the famed University of Wisconsin historian, wrote that the “machinery” of distance learning would carry “irrigating streams of education into the arid regions” of the country. Sensing a historic opportunity to reach new students and garner new revenues, schools rushed to set up correspondence divisions.