I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.


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Repositories of Open Educational Resources: An Assessment of Reuse and Educational Aspects


This study examines resources from 110 repositories. It should be clear that this post doesn't measure actual reuse, it measures only how suitable the resources are for reuse. Having said that, there are some issues with how the observations are presented (for example, licensing is divided between CC-by-NC-SA (42.4%) and "Any of the 6 CC licenses (27.1%)", which is an impossibility). But there are some interesting things. For one, there is a preponderance of NC licenses (contrary to some OER advocates' claims to the contrary). The private sector is almost completely absent from OER production. Most repositories use Dublic Core metadata, and not (say) Learning Object metadata (LOM). Educational metadata was almost never used. Resources were rarely updated. There were few external quality assessments. The authors conclude, interestingly, "current ROERs include more drivers that promote the reuse of OERs, mainly through open licenses and social networks, than features facilitating the retrieval and use of OERs according to educational needs, such as learning goals."

Today: 158 Total: 158 Gema Santos-Hermosa, Núria Ferran-Ferrer, Ernest Abadal, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 2017/08/16 [Direct Link]

Openness and Praxis: Exploring the Use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education


This article describes (accurately) the domain of open educational practices (OEP) as a kind of academic land-grab. In a couple of paragraphs consisting mostly of references we read of the current work on the subject. But as the results of the survey suggest, "Participants described a wide range of digital and pedagogical practices and values.... It is impossible to draw a clear boundary between educators who do and do not use OEP." So why is this? It doesn't help that there are three competing definitions of 'open'. It doesn't help that the term 'practices' conflates concepts as diverse as 'networking', 'teaching' and 'values'. The author describes four 'dimensions shared by open educators': balancing privacy and openness; developing digital literacies; valuing social learning; and challenging traditional teaching roles. To my mind it goes to show that the concept of open practice, by itself, is too impoverished to describe what open e ducators should practice. That's why I add autonomy, diversity and interactivity. And we have to remember: openness is a means, not an end in itself.

Today: 190 Total: 190 Catherine Cronin, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 2017/08/16 [Direct Link]

Real talk: bullies, trolls and the troll tax


The comparison of trolls with bullies is apt. "Imagine a walk home from school filled with fear. Imagine you feel the fear because of a bully. Now imagine your bully is online — and this bully, a troll, can get to you any time of day." I grew up with that experience and I learned that the only way to stop a bully is to fight back. But what if they enjoy fighting? Once you start fighting there's no way to stop. Trolls, like bullies, can't be ignored. They will poison the environment, the way they've poisoned social media today. The only way to stop them is to deny them a platform; the only way to stop bullies is to deny them access to the neighbourhood. That's why we put criminals in jail. And that's why we deny trolls a platform. Swift and automatic deletion of hate from social media platforms is the only way to keep social media platforms free of hate. Doing anything else is just a tacit admission that we're fine with it and can live with the consequences. 

Today: 150 Total: 150 Michaela Smiley (Thayer) , Mozilla, Internet Citizen, 2017/08/16 [Direct Link]

How SB Nation Profits Off An Army Of Exploited Workers


Full disclosure: I read one of the SB Nation blogs (Bluebird Banter) almost every day. I like it because it's a fan site; it's independent from the team in a way traditional news coverage isn't. So I'm reading coverage, not advertising and promotion. The existence of this model should be no surprise; it's almost exactly what was described by Hegel and Armstrong in Net.Gain almost 20 years ago. Yes, I think the wages paid to editors should be higher, but I also think we should pay janitors and restaurant workers a living wage as well. Is this the future for educational writing? Well, some. It's harder for education because readers progress through a discipline; they don't stay loyal to one body of content the way a sports audience would. But the model is otherwise very similar (which is why Vox has grown well beyond its roots in SB Nation).

Today: 162 Total: 162 Laura Wagner, Deadspin, 2017/08/16 [Direct Link]

Open Invitation to contribute toward the Ljubljana OER Action Plan


Cable Green writes by email "UNESCO has released a draft "OER Action Plan" and has asked for our comments and feedback. The draft OER Action Plan is available in English and French."  The recommendations are pbroken down into five major categories: capacity-building and usage; language and cultural issues; access; changing business models; and policy. The report also "points to the urgency for new approaches, recalling that on current trends only 70% of children in low income countries will complete primary school by 2030; a goal that should have been achieved in 2015." There's a form for input but it comes with the warning that "while all individual inputs are most welcome, we encourage inputs that are submitted collectively and/or endorsed by institutions." Also, input "may be positively evaluated based on such factors as the number of like-minded comments received, the source of contribution including governmental, IGOs, NGOs as well as institutions of teaching and learning, and a balance of geographical representation." That doesn't sound very open and inviting. 

Today: 159 Total: 290 UNESCO, 2017/08/15 [Direct Link]

BbWorld Report: Blackboard May Be Turning Around


This long post makes the case that Blackboard may be turning around but the more interesting reading is the analysis of the market that sees virtually all new implementations in the Canada-USA higher education space being either Instructure's Canvas or Desire2Learn's Brightspace. Blackboard has bottomed out (and according to the authors the turnaround won't start for at least 12 months) and, interestingly, so has Moodle. A big part of this, I think, is that the market is saturated, which means that you can't really depend on this data to make predictions. Blackboard and Moodle still have huge user bases. I'm reading in this article two major things supporting the case for Blackboard: a renewed interest in product development, and an increasing emphasis on openness and honesty. 

Today: 208 Total: 380 Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, 2017/08/15 [Direct Link]

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.