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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The End of the American Experiment


Patrick Watson gave us the same message some three decades ago: democracy requires prosperity - universal prosperity - in order to survive. Umair Haque expresses this using the term 'moral universals': "Moral universals are simply things that people believe everyone should have," he writes. And this, he argues, is what separates the United States from the democracies of the world. "Moral universals anchor a society in a genuinely shared prosperity. Not just because they “spread the wealth”, though they do: because, more deeply, moral universals civilize people... in America today, there are no broad, genuine, or accessible civilizing mechanisms left... the natural consequence of failing to civilize is breaking down as a democracy — democracy no longer exists in the sense of “people cooperating by voting to give each other greater prosperity”. They have merely learned to take prosperity away from one another." See also: Rolling Stone on Justin Trudeau.

Today: 159 Total: 159 Umair Haque, Medium, 2017/07/26 [Direct Link]

The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube


You might read this article on the level it's presented: an expanation of the popularity of YouTube Kids in the fact that it allows kids to make choices. Or you might read it a bit more deeply and see how the selection algorithm is actually shaping the nature of the videos that made available for seecton. Or even more deeply and see how advertisers already understand this very well and are using YouTube Kids to pump marketing content straight into their subconscious by having them select their advertisements over and over and over (This video of a person pressing sparkly Play-Doh onto chintzy Disney princess figurines has been viewed 550 million times).

Today: 146 Total: 146 Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 2017/07/26 [Direct Link]

What if MOOCs Revolutionize Education After All?


Some pragmatic thinking with a pinch of a push for content knowledge. The premise is that MOOCs are actually going to challenge the classroom model, and ultimately, universities and the teaching professors. "Once they begin becoming broadly available for college credit, it's going to start changing the scenario of higher education." Best line in the post: "The thing is, moving a university is a little bit like moving a cemetery. You can't expect any help from the inhabitants." Professors, who have a vested interest, are going to resist, not help, the transition to MOOCs. But not just any type of MOOC: "look at a problem and pace through it in my mind as if I was playing a song. I could pull it instantly to mind, pull all the solution steps. I kind of knew it inside and out, and when you do that with enough problems, you begin to internalize the material at a very in-depth level."

Today: 161 Total: 161 Jeffrey R. Young , Barbara Oakley, EdSurge, 2017/07/26 [Direct Link]

A hacker stole $31M of Ether — how it happened, and what it means for Ethereum


Hackers robbed Ethereum of $31 million of Ether. "They found a programmer-introduced bug in the code that let them re-initialize the wallet, almost like restoring it to factory settings. Once they did that, they were free to set themselves as the new owners." Eter is crypto-currency, like Bicoin, but Ethereum uses this concept to allow people to create contracts, and it was one of these contracts that was hacked.

Today: 129 Total: 129 Haseeb Qureshi, freecodecamp, 2017/07/26 [Direct Link]

Get Started With Serverless Computing On Kubernetes With Minikube And Kubeless


This is the sort of thing that could eat the rest of my vacation (or a lot longer, if you don't have a developer background). Kubeless allows you to manage a "serverless" architecture (it's not really 'serverless', it's just that all of your applications and functions run on other people's servers), and you use software like Kubernetes to set up and coordinate them. This is bleeding edge and far from user-friendly. From Wikipedia: "Kubernetes (commonly referred to as "K8s") is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications that was originally designed by Google and donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation." There's a webinar this Wednesday if you want to learn more.

Today: 56 Total: 286 Bitnami, 2017/07/24 [Direct Link]

Are MOOCs, Bootcamps and Other Alternative Education Options Effective?


According to this article, "A new study questions the quality of these programs, as well as the evidence that demonstrates their efficacy." When an article questions whether any form of online learning is "effective", the first question to ask is, "what do they mean by effective?" This is what I wondered on reading this article. I was disappointed, on multiple accounts. First, American Council on Education study cited in the article in no way resembles the coverage in this article. After gnashing my teeth I did some hunting and found a second article by the same authors published by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences which does cover the topic. But on a reading of the article I found nothing questioning their effectiveness (save the oft-repreted comment about MOOC completion rates), only an assertion that there is insufficient research on their quality. Both these reports - by researchers Jessie Brown and Martin Kurzweil - are quality reports. It's a shame the U.S. News & World Report treats them so disrespectfully.


Today: 29 Total: 544 Kara Voght, U.S. News & World Report, 2017/07/24 [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.