November 1, 2014

News Round-Up: November 1

Becky's news round-up is my reminder to do a news round-up, and it's been a LONG time since the last one... almost a month! Eeek! So, this will be a long list. And yes, I'll go share it at Twitter, but alas, nobody else at OU besides Becky is blogging their reading round-ups, so it's a lonely little hashtag, the #ouednews.

Since some of these items might be of interested to the Connected Courses gang, I'll label this for #ccourses too. And after a week being out of the loop, I will be glad to get back into that this weekend too. Whoo-hoo!

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Start a Reading Revolution: Flip Your Class With Blogs : Great article about a flip based not on video but on students reading and writing! Quote: "All you have to do is flip the experience, turning the practice of reading on its head by making them the creators of their own learning."

Inoreader can now read Google+: Great news from a tool I rely on every day: Inoreader will let me subscribe to 30 Google+ feeds, which means the contents of those feeds can be saved, tagged, and searched... and even sent back out as RSS. With Twitter and Google+ integration, the power of RSS is coming to services that don't offer RSS on their own.

Online Courses and Marketing Fluff: What is an immersive history course?: Big news at my school this week is a new online course program, branded by the History Channel. I am not impressed.

King of Free Online Courses May Soon Add Videochats With Professors: The Coursera scam continues to offer a nightmare vision of college education and, yes, it continues to be video-obsessed.

Significant Milestone: First national study of OER adoption: Phil Hill's take on the Babson survey on OER. My main takeaway here is that universities need to shift focus from online course development to OERs. Faculty are not, and probably never will be, very interested in online course development (aside from a few eccentric exceptions), but the development of OER is something faculty can really support with enthusiasm, which would allow universities to build on their greatest asset rather than riding roughshod over them or ignoring them (as in the current MOOC frenzy and related top-down initiatives for online courses).

Online Ed Skepticism and Self-Sufficiency: Survey of Faculty Views on Technology: And if you want proof that, for whatever reasons, most faculty do feel mistrustful of online education, this is the report to read.

The State of the LMS: Contradictions, Limitations, Futures: A great overview from Michael Berman which ends up at the idea of a student-centered learning network. Think: BLOGS. Enough already with course-centric and teacher-driven systems. Bring on the students!

Passive MOOC Students Don’t Retain New Knowledge, Study Finds: Surprise, surprise: “Learners focused on activities such as watching videos and taking tests, with little evidence of learners’ relating new knowledge into practice, or connecting to their peers through the discussion board,” said Colin Milligan, a research fellow at the university, in a news release.

Design Patterns and the Coming Revolution in Course Design: A fantastic round-up of ideas from Mike Caulfield, some familiar from earlier posts but some of which I had not heard from him before!

Cliches are Written 60,000 Times Faster than Finding Sources: Alan Levine on the idiocy of (most) infographics. Mwahahaha.

How long will your course remain yours?: My new favorite post from Jonathan Rees in his ongoing coverage of MOOCs and LMSs. Like Jonathan, "I’m on team anarchy all the way."

How to Make Bad Discussion Questions Better for an Online Course: Case Study Using an edX MOOC: Great piece from Debbie Morrison. Maybe if people were consistently following the practices she advocates here, I wouldn't find discussion boards so frustrating. Debbie provides some very specific tips for people who need to improve the quality of the questions they are asking.

Higher-Ed Reform or Drinking Game? You Decide: Best article I have read on the looming threat of standardization (think Common Core) on the horizon of higher education.

On the Question of Validity in Learning Analytics: An important read for those of you who put your faith in predictive data analytics (I don't).

The State of Educational Blogging 2014: Third annual report on educational blogging... something in which I have great faith and which I wish we saw more of in higher ed, both among faculty AND students.

The Science of Talking with Computers: A good, basic video that should give pause to the people who think that computers will be capable of natural language processing anytime soon. The challenges are simply enormous for anything but the most basic data recognition and retrieval. As for giving feedback to students about their writing...? Uh, don't hold your breath.

Turnitin Acquires LightSide Labs to Put Automated Writing Feedback in Students’ Hands: And on this bit of absurdity, see previous comment. Lightside started out with the (impossible) goal of giving students feedback on their writing, but I am pretty sure TurnItIn is going to turn it into automatic grading software. Which makes sense: we are acting like machines when we grade, so it will probably succeed. Sigh. More grades, faster grades... when what we need is to get rid of the grades and have real feedback instead!

25 Things Skilled Learners Do Differently: There are some great items on this list. Just imagine if we designed classes with the goal of bringing this skills to the surface and giving students abundant opportunities to practice them!

Why Saying Is Believing — The Science Of Self-Talk: A nice piece at NPR that resonates with Carol Dweck's growth mindset and related ideas of great importance for education IMO.

Why Students Don't Read What is Assigned in Class: You don't know until you ask them! And we need to ask.

A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned: And this report also has a good reality check. We have so much to learn from being students, seeing through their eyes... not just collecting data "about" them.

The “Touristification” of Education: Very provocative and thoughtful article about society at large and education in particular: "the path to develop maturity and self-reliance is anything but predictable, which is why universities and big companies are terrible at it and only foster dependency and powerlessness."

And I'll close with this great graphic that I found making the rounds in October:

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