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The Problem with TED Ed

Shelly Blake-Plock reflects on how she finds TED Ed inspiring but notes that people listen and consume but wonders what they do as a result.

TED — in the form it is presented online to the masses — is not about doing. It is about watching. Listening. Consuming. Maybe leaving a comment or sharing a link to improve your TEDCred score. Yes, there is a wealth of interesting information and lots to think about. Personally, I find many of the lectures to be inspired. But we shouldn’t confuse an inspiring lecture and provocative ideas with “learning”.

And much of what we have called “lessons” over the decades really aren’t lessons at all — they are consumables

She mentions that we learn by doing and how she  would like to see platforms that encourage this.

In full

Losing the glue of scholarship

Martin Weller, author of The Digital Scholar, looks at the reality of completing scholarly tasks in a changing higher education environment and the practicality of achieving these in addition to current work for his employer. He wonders whether these tasks which have often been done for free should have costs attached and wonders on the impact of overall scholarly practice across institutions

Are these kinds of tasks the unseen glue that binds scholarly activity together? So, if we lose, or at least drastically reduce, them does it fundamentally undermine the whole practice, or will we just find other ways of achieving them (for instance giving a talk remotely is a lot more efficient than travelling to the venue)

In full

MITx and the (Automated) Future of Higher Education

Justin Marquis looks at whether MOOCs are bringing forwards a teacherless classroom by looking at the current MITx initiative. Whilst the course plans seem fairly standard, the analysis is fully automated.

He provides a detailed look at the benefits of large scale implementations of these model but notes that this does not provide universal access:

Simply put, if an individual lacks a computer or compatible portable device, Internet connectivity, or even electricity, they cannot use free online educational resources, regardless of how groundbreaking  and well-designed those assets are. In order to take advantage of innovative educational opportunities such as MITx, people must be able to access and use them. This is still a significant obstacle both globally and in the U.S.