Will MOOCs Promote Superstar Teaching Over Superstar Research At Princeton And Other Ivy Universities?

Paul Glader suggests that with the current MOOC hype attracting large numbers of students, that there will be a renewed focus on teaching rather than research.

Kevin Carey sees MOOCs setting up a power struggle between the two coasts of knowledge power – the West Coast, Silicon Valley-based tech sector and the DC to Boston corridor of Ivy League and elite colleges. “I’m not sure who will end up running the place,” he says. “Colleges don’t have a monopoly on expertise

Paul also notes critiques of MOOCs that question whether knowledge is democratized through these types of offerings.

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Math MOOC – Coming this fall. Let’s Teach the World

Keith Devlin of Stanford University is on a mission to educate the world with a five week Maths Mooc this autumn. He reflects on the experiences of his colleagues who have set up Udacity and Coursera following the activity in their Moocs. He wants to develop a community of others who are also running Maths courses at that time of year to connect with each other

Learning is all about human interaction. The technology just provides the medium for that interaction. In offering my math transition MOOC at the start of the fall term, when many colleges and universities offer their own transition course, I am inviting any instructor who will be giving such a course, together with their students, to join me and my MOOC students online, making interaction with other students around the world a part of a much larger learning community

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Open Access: Money and Data talk and say the same thing?

Stephen Curry reflects on open access and the basic principles of bulk buying – for libraries purchasing journals – the articles are cheaper but they end up buying a lot of content that may not be accessed and a study which noticed a ”weakening relationship” between journal Impact Factors and individual papers’ citations. He questions whether the notion of ‘journal’ itself is disappearing with increasing digital access and encourages people to sign up to the White House petition.

There seems no immediate danger; even relatively new and online-only journals, such as PLoS ONE, have a journal identity. But what does that mean in the absence of a physical object that looks like a printed journal? I suspect the dissociation of the concept from the thing itself may weaken people’s habituation to the form

Discussion in the comments challenges the study findings as to whether there is actual data to back up the claims made. They also look at the impact of media that reflect certain perspectives prior to detailed review

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Enhanced Learning Conference – PELeCON 2012

Matt Lingard provides links and highlights from trip reports from some of this year’s conference attendees. There were student showcases with examples in primary and secondary learning ages including use of tablets, apps, Skype, google groups. Other highlights from keynotes and parallel sessions included examples of

  • 70,000 students involved in blogging projects across the world
  • being able to improve writing through a writing challenge involving peer interaction
  • questioning what reform and change mean for education
  • openness and barriers to open learning practices
  • engagement in alternate reality games
  • ‘future building’ education with digital architectures
  • conditions that allow creativity to flourish
  • educators sharing their top 100 tools for learning

There are also contributions from virtual participants via twitter, liveblogging, a crowdsourced wiki

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The challenges of digital scholarship

Adeline Koh on Prof Hacker blog says that the call to use new media as part of academic scholarship is growing increasingly louder. She refers to four relevant issues including the importance of educating your audience by understanding who your audience is and how their interests can be addressed. She looks at peer review and where books fit into the process.

Should junior scholars blog their book projects? Will this inhibit them from getting book contracts later? Will their blogs count as scholarship? Workshop participants argued that blogging a book project would associate ideas with the junior scholar’s name. One participant even compared transitioning from a blog to a book to a dissertation to book. In short: we are on the brink of a tipping point in history, where blogging is going to become the norm for the initial exchange of ideas

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Vocational vs Elite Educations

Emeka Okafor reviews the lack of vocational education available and looks to other countries’ examples for how to improve economies.

Why don’t the products of our high schools, colleges and universities have a greater ability to create, manufacture or process things? Our educational systems seem to spit out those who can only barely administer and officiate. A general lack of critical thinking abounds with few exceptions. How can we systemizecuriosity-driven, startup, maker mentality? The roots of these failures to a degree stem from deficient foundations left by former colonial overlords. It would do us a measure of good to learn from Germany, Europe’s most successful economy and appropriate where we can

He posts some interesting videos that look at traditional and vocational education in African countries.

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Would you like to help us create a print version of the calendar?

We would like to create a print version to potentially share at the end of the year. There are mixed sizes of posts so far but the majority are fairly short. Some of us have started to discuss different options including:

  • exporting to Blurb and using their SmartBook software – maybe look at their wall planners options
  • exporting to PhotoBox and maybe look at their calendar options
  • or any other tools that you might be familiar with

We do not have a budget so will be experimenting with free software and options. As a print option this could be sold and we would like to explore contributing to an educational non-profit as part of the price.

If you have experience and/or graphic design tools and would like to be involved, we would welcome your suggestions – please add a comment below or contact us

Thank you !


First Do No Harm: New Evidence on Online Learning in Higher Education

Matthew M Chingos reviews a recent series of experiments that they carried out where students participated in seven introductory statistics courses in a hybrid format (machine guided instruction with one f2f every week). The courses involved more traditional forms of assessment

We found that students in the hybrid format did just as well—in terms of pass rates, final exam scores, and performance on a standardized statistics test—as their counterparts in the traditional version of the same course

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Presentation: New geographies of learning: distance education and being ‘at’ Edinburgh

Clare O’Shea provides a fascinating presentation and link to their report, where they have explored what it means to be a student and their relationship with their institution.

In this paper, we report on our exploration of how distance learners construct and describe their relationship with their institution, using visual and narrative methods within a group of 150 students from 35 countries studying on the fully online, distance MSc in E-Learning. Students told the tales of their own ‘arrival’ at Edinburgh at the start of their studies, an ethnographic trope which problematised academic geographies and brought together the ‘concrete’ campus and the ‘distant’ place of study.  Students also provided visual and aural data in the form of digital ‘postcards’, creating a vivid sense of the land- and sound-scape of their study environment.

She explains the themes that began to emerge from the project including a sense of place and placelessness.

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