I lead 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.


  • Association of Medical Educators of Europe (AMEE) E-Learning Symposium, Glasgow, Scotland, September 6, 2015.

  • Ghent, Belgium, March 30, 2015.

  • Chang School Talks 2015, Ryerson University, February 23, 2015.

  • Hackademia, Online, to Brazil, March 16, 2015.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

Business Leaders Have Abandoned the Middle Class


It's so nice to see Umair Haque emerge from the shadows, so to speak. And isn't this true of education? "The truth is that today’s business leaders have failed in the simplest, starkest, hardest terms... business needs to play a more active, engaged role in creating the kind of thriving, vibrant economies that inoculate societies from self-implosion... The backlash from people who’ve been left behind by a broken model of prosperity is too sharp, too fierce, and too destructive. Just as it will be when climate change really accelerates, when the next financial crisis rolls around, when unemployed, education-debt-burdened young people reach their breaking point, and so on... There will come a point when abandoned people are willing to see the whole playing field burn down, so that it can be level again. And they might burn you down with it." (p.s. Haque says the 'middle class' - it should not be forgotten that they abandoned the poor and indigent a long time ago.)

Today: 392 Total: 392 Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review, 2016/07/01 [Direct Link]

Can a Classroom Be a Family? Race, Space, and the Labour of Care in Urban Teaching


"Does the idea of 'family' as a pedagogical compass get a classroom more efficiently from one idea to another, or safely through the sometimes turbulent seawaters and challenging relationships of an urban classroom?" asks  Kathleen Gallagher. "I arrive ultimately at a qualified yes," she writes. "For better and for worse, the logic of the family and the 'bond of obligation' in the classroom holds us to account and serves to raise the stakes on classroom relations and possibly widen compassion for human frailty." This is a lot to draw from a single case, but I get the fact that Gallagher is trying out an analytic strategy linking broader theoretical themes with specific practice. The family analogy, though, doesn't resonate with me. There are many different conceptions of family, and many different experiences of family. The term is being used here as a vague catch-all to describe an atmosphere of caring. In this particular case, it works. In many cases, it would not. See more articles from the special issue of CJE on Reflecting Canadian Diversity.

Today: 220 Total: 220 Kathleen Gallagher, Canadian Journal of Education, 2016/07/01 [Direct Link]

What media companies don’t want you to know about ad blockers

I've made this case before but this article substantiates with data and examples the three major benefits of Ad Blockers:

  • they protect you from scams and malware that are served by news media and content sites
  • they protect your privacy from trackers and bugs
  • they speed up page load time a lot

As I've said before, news media need to find a new business model, a new advertising model.

Today: 306 Total: 306 Trevor Timm, Columbia Journalism Review, 2016/07/01 [Direct Link]

What does a CBE course look like?

Pretty basic but if you don't set out a baseline it's hard to progress. So here's what would probably be regarded as a basic framework for competency-based courses (all quoted, as usual):

  • a welcome section and course map
  • an order to program competencies and the learner’s pathway
  • communications protocol and assistance resources
  • standard delivery model across CBE courses
  • alignment among competencies, sub-competencies, content, and assessments
  • visibility of progress

Now you could go a couple of ways here. You could say this description omits this or that, which is fair enough. Or alternatively you could ask what problem is solved by this framework as opposed to some other. This is where I lean - it's an awful lot of overhead to reach results that could have been obtained without that overhead.

Today: 275 Total: 275 Karen Yoshino, Blackboard Blog, 2016/07/01 [Direct Link]

Gameful Design


There are some nice tricks in this article that convince you to read to the end (I won't reveal them because that would be to give away the game). The conclusion is ultimately disappointing, but there's enough clever here to make it worth passing along.

Today: 313 Total: 313 Edmond Manning, Allen Interactions, 2016/06/30 [Direct Link]

Critical Design Decisions for Successful Model-Based Inquiry in Science Classrooms


I like this post because it embraces a much more contemporary account of scientific work than most typical research in learning and design. The traditional account "often lacks the social epistemic practices embraced by scientists that are integral to the production of knowledge." But through reference to documents such as Next Generation Science
Standards [NGSS] along with reference to writers I have found personally influential, such as Ronald Giere and Philip Kitcher, the authors embrace an account of science as a "combination of evaluating evidence, coordinating evidence and models, and arriving at evidence-based judgments that are communicated through argumentation." They refer to the corresponding pedagogical approach as "modeling or model-based inquiry." OK, that's just the introduction. The paper presents a case including two lessons designed according to the Promoting Reasoning and Conceptual Change in Science (PRACCIS) model. Guidelines are described for choosing phenomena to be studied, developing models, developing evidence, and productive disciplinary engagement. This is a terrific paper, carefully considered and thought out, clear and insightful. Don't miss it. More from this IJDL special issue on K-12 Classroom Implementation.

Today: 300 Total: 300 Ronald W. Rinehart, Ravit Golan Duncan, Clark A. Chinn, Trudy A. Atkins, Jessica DiBenedetti, International Journal of Designs for Learning, 2016/06/30 [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.
Sponsored this month by: Rory McGreal