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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Wednesday at Educause 2016: Power of introverts, top IT issues


So if there's no such thing as learning styles, why is a talk about introverts an EDUCAUSE keynote? "Susan Cain's keynote on the often-untapped potential of introverts was particularly relevant to an IT crowd that, when asked to raise hands, was roughly split 70/30 on introverts and extroverts." Interestingly, a survey of teachers will give almost the opposite result. It turns out there are differences between people, and some of them can classify us in some interesting, albeit superficial, ways.

Today: 202 Total: 202 Roger Riddell, Education Dive, 2016/10/27 [Direct Link]

Twitter is killing off Vine


The news today spread faster than any Vine video (it came and was over while I was watching a single Bill Mahar video). Twitter "said it would not delete any Vines that have been posted — for now, anyway. 'We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way,' the company said in a Medium post. 'You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made.'" Translation: download your videos now and put them in your own archive, before they disappear forever the way your Google Video, Blip and Ustream videos did. Interestingly, you can read the announcement on Medium but not on the Vine website.

Today: 179 Total: 179 Casey Newton, The Verge, 2016/10/27 [Direct Link]

Patterns in Course Design: How instructors ACTUALLY use the LMS


I'll save you the suspense: they mostly use it to distribute course content and announcements. They also use it as a gradebook. Even in the 11% use of the 'social' course archetype, more than half the use is content distribution. John Whitmer writes, "in initial exploration we have found a similar distribution in final grades in courses across all categories, and uneven results across tool use by course category. This suggests, counter-intuitively, that grade may be independent of course category." It's not that counter-intuitive. The majority of courses are based largely on the transfer of content from instructor to student. Grades reflect suvvess using that methodology, and are not some sort of independent arbiter between methodologies.

Today: 284 Total: 284 John Whitmer, Blackboard Blog, 2016/10/27 [Direct Link]

Prosthetic hands link to nerves to make touch feel real


The leading edge and obviously best use for this technology is of course to help amputees gain feeling in their artificial hands. But there is no reason why the technology developed would stop with amputees, especially if the interface between mind and machine were not excessively invasive. The applications could literally redefine what we mean by "hands on" training and development. Imagine working with a simulation that could respond to your touch exactly the way the real environment would. The work was published in Science Translational Medicine by Emily L. Graczyk, et.al.

Today: 203 Total: 203 Matt Wood, Futurity, 2016/10/27 [Direct Link]

Against Assessment: You Can't Measure The Unmeasurable


"Looking at student work completed as part of course sounds much better than trying to create standardized assessments," writes John Warner.  But "the massification and standardization of this kind of assessment seems likely to hold many potentially bad unintended, but entirely foreseeable consequences." This sort of focus would shape teaching into certain types of 'best practice', which is the opposite of what classes should be like. "We should be keeping it as diverse and exploratory as possible," he says. For example, students must find meaning in assignments, and this depends on their individual preferences and needs.

Today: 310 Total: 310 John Warner, Inside Higher Ed, 2016/10/27 [Direct Link]

Chatbots with Social Skills Will Convince You to Buy Something


What happens when the chatbot we think is there to help us is actually a skilled sales agent? This adds a different flavour to the use of such applications to, say, support students or provide advice. We might think that's what they're doing, but in fact they may be more interested in persuading us to buy some software or to sign up for the advanced tutorial. Or they may be programmed by some company to recommend their staff and affiliates as experts within a domian. If there's no truth in advertising, what will we then say about adbots? This article discusses Sara, an unreasonably persuasive chatbot was developed by Justine Cassell at Carnegie Mellon University.

Today: 122 Total: 666 Will Knight, MIT Technology review, 2016/10/26 [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.