At Yale, Online Lectures Become Lively Books

Jennifer Howard looks at how Yale has decided to released materials from its online course programs in paperbook and ebook formats.

“It may seem counterintuitive for a digital project to move into books and e-books, because these are a much more conventional way of publishing,” she says. But the Open Yale Courses are about “reaching out in every way that we could.” That includes posting audio and video versions online (via Yale’s Web site, YouTube, and iTunes), and providing transcripts and now book versions of the lectures.

Having transcripts of their lectures to work with gives faculty authors a jump-start. “It was incomparably the easiest book I have ever written,” says Shelly Kagan, a Yale professor of philosophy whose lecture course on death has become one of the Open Yale program’s most popular offerings.

The lecturers involved noted how the publishing timescales moved from several years to a few months, noting how interesting it has been to interact with learners around the world through the online courses.

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Lost professors: we won’t need academics in 60 years

Chris Lloyd predicts that the number of academics across Australian universities will return to 1950s levels in 60 years time, noting his own challenges in digital environments today

These days, I design new courses by trawling the web for the latest content, topical examples and exercises. I feel more and more like a dispensable middle man between freely available content and captured students. More worrying, I strongly suspect I am not the world’s best translator of free content into course materials.I deliver the course to the students in a big hall. Here is another insight. Try as I might to inspire and engage, I am not the world’s best lecturer either.

He speculates on how students will access free content, selecting the best content for their needs, also noting that the need for increasing cost-effective delivery may have similar impacts on research

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Creativity-based Research: The Process of Co-Designing with Users

Caroline Naranjo-Bock writes for UX magazine about the practice of co-design and the different stages – taking account of what the research goals and questions are; who the audience is and what tools they can use; the users invited to participate; running workshops with different methods; trying a pilot and analysing the results. These don’t have to be done in a face to face setting.

New forms of co-design have emerged that take advantage of digital technologies to allow hundreds of users to co-create a product or service regardless of their location. Most of these co-design efforts come in the form of contests or collaborative online platforms that encourage users to submit ideas directly to the company and to collaborate with their peers.

Open innovation and crowdsourcing initiatives are open calls to a broad community of people for help with the design of a company’s next product or service, or for ongoing ideas that might be considered for real production.

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Teach Up: Create a classroom that works for all students

Robert Ryshke looks at a model of teaching up which has seven principles

  1. Accept that human differences are not only normal but also desirable.
  2. Develop a growth mindset.
  3. Work to understand students’ culture, interests, needs and perspectives.
  4. Create a base of rigorous learning opportunities for ALL students.
  5. Understand that students come to the classroom with varied points of entry into a curriculum and move through it at different rates.
  6. Create flexible classroom routines and procedures that attend to learner needs.
  7. Be an analytical practitioner.

He looks at learning environments where students have been segregated and not given opportunities to share and outlines how these principles can be implemented

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Leadership for Constant Change

Diane Oblinger looks at how the changes from an analog to a digital world and the changes within education, suggesting that people look for leadership and guidance. She looks at a variety of different values and behaviours that characterize leaders which are mentioned in the related articles.

Leadership requires discipline to take the best from traditions, history, and opportunities and create the future. Although leaders may not need to know everything, they need to understand how things are related. And discipline is required to balance individual strengths with organizational need

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Whether the digital era improves society is up to its users – that’s us

Danah Boyd writes in the Guardian Battle for the Internet series. She looks at the impact of fear and notes how it can be a mechanism of control, how people are responding to overwhelming information through their online connections, where psychological warfare is being used to try and capture and maintain people’s attention. She questions whether radical transparency is worthwhile and mentions how people are

How do these impact people’s online experience through their networks. She notes that people have access to more people through more networks with more visibility and wonders about the implications in terms of their relationships.

it’s high time we examined the values that are propagated through our tools. We all need to think critically about the information we create, consume and share

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Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? The Verdict

Melissa Terras started a project in October 2011 to make all her articles available via an open access repository.

I decided that as well as putting them in the institutional repository, I would write a blog post about each research project, and tweet the papers for download. Would this affect how much my research was read, known, discussed, distributed?

Did it work? She writes an insightful post on the result.

The verdict

Peer-Based Learning in a Networked Age

Mimi Ito’s keynote in 2010 is highly relevant to the numerous conversations that are springing up around educational change. Are we in a networked age? Mimi notes that traditional boundaries of educational institutions are changing with the impact of new networked media where peer based learning occurs beyond the classroom.

Unlike their relationship to mainstream media, unlike their relationship with content and activities that adults provision for them, these smaller scale peer publics are ones that they participate in not just as consumers but as producers and distributors of content, knowledge, taste and culture. They make decisions about how to craft their profiles, what messages to write, and what kind of music, video, and artwork they want to post, link to and forward. And these choices about what media to display and circulate are conducted in a public space visible to their peers that have direct consequences to their reputation in the social circles that matter to them the most.

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Crowd-Sourcing Expands Power of Brain Research

Benedict Carey reports on a study by 200 scientists at over 100 imaging centers which analysed relationships between genes and intelligence.  Working collaboratively helped to create one large database which was then linked to a similar study in progress.

Brain imaging studies are expensive and, as a result, far too small to reliably tease out the effects of common gene variations. These effects tend to be tiny, for one thing, and difficult to distinguish from the background “noise” of other influences. And brain imaging is notoriously noisy: not only does overall brain size vary from person to person, for instance, but so do the sizes of specialized brain regions like the hippocampus, which is critical for memory formation.

Results / In full

Five Trends to Watch in Educational Technology

Rob Reynolds also reports on five key trends that he is watching including an understanding of curriculum, OER learning platforms, learning analytics, smart mobile devices and digital reading.

We are seeing a shift to newer literacies and are even beginning to entertain significant changes to what core content needs to be taught/learned. There is certainly a growing realization that curricula today must be more flexible and open, and that the idea of fixed/static bodies of important information to be taught no longer works

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