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What the Course Signals "Kerfuffle" is About, and What it Means to You
(Originally posted in a slightly altered form at e-Literate)
A year or so ago I mentioned on my blog Hapgood that there were some oddities in data from Purdue's Course Signals results, results that have formed some of the basis for the strong version of learning analytics optimism. At that time I proposed that a substantial portion of the observed effect of Course Signals might be coming from a specific type of statistical error.
When Purdue updated those results a few weeks ago, I pointed back to those issues (still unresolved), expecting the critique to die the slow death it had last year. But things had changed. Michael Feldstein at e-Literate took up the issue, and pushed for a response to it. More people got involved. At this point the issue has reached the pages of both Inside Higher Ed and Times Higher Education.
Educational Technology and the Sources of Innovation
Cross-posted from e-Literate.
After reading an an excellent post by tech-blogger Jon Udell on innovation, I spent the weekend getting reacquainted with work of Eric von Hippel, the researcher who pioneered the study of user-driven innovation.
What's interesting about von Hippel is that his research hits on the common themes of the open education movement, but does so in a slightly different key.
On That "Flipped Classrooms May Not Work" Article Going Around
- It details the preliminary “impressions” of professors engaged in a three year study that will end in 2016. Despite having run flipped classes, they are in week three of that study.
- It mentions that flipped models might not work for philosophy, because it’s difficult to come up with “real-world problems" to which one could apply philosophy.
A PLAN FOR A $10K DEGREE: A RESPONSE
A new proposal is out from Third Way, authored by Anya Kamenetz. It makes an argument for a radical restructuring of higher education in pursuit of a radically cheaper degree. I plan to write a few blog posts on its proposals. This is the first.
There's many things to like about the plan.
I like the scope of the plan. It's an ambitious plan, but it starts from the premise we have a rich public educational infrastructure in the U.S. that needs to be reconfigured, not abandoned, dismantled, privatized, or routed around.
New research out on the use of student response systems in the classroom, and really no surprises to be found in it. Students respond favorably to SRS use in the classroom when it's used consistently with a clear purpose by an instructor who is excited about using it, and committed to the method.
Peak Higher Ed and the Age of Diminished Expectations
Bryan Alexander has a good post up on the idea of peak higher ed, a trend/theory that encompasses peak demographics, declining public support, ballooning debt, and the increasingly conventional public opinion that college is no longer as sure a route to a good job.
The Water106 Model for Issues-based Education
I've been slacking on the blogging lately, mainly because I've been giving a lot of time to a project called Water106. Water106 is MOOC-like in a sense, but like the Feminist and Technology DOCC and UMW's ds106 it approaches the massive class from a different angle, one which I've referred to in the past as MANIC (a horrible acronym since retired). In a post from a while back, I described the difference this way:
xMOOC Communities Should Learn From cMOOCs
For those that may be unfamiliar with the terminology, xMOOCs is a term used to refer to the current breed of elite hyper-centralized Coursera- and Udacity-style MOOCs. The term distinguishes them from the early and ongoing cMOOCs: massive classes that were built as largely decentralized networked learning experiences. You can read more about the differences here (and you should click that link if you are unfamiliar with these terms -- these are important distinctions).
My sense is that, when compared to cMOOCs, xMOOCs have a community problem.
Sure, you can get an answer to a math problem at 2 a.m. from a student in the Czech Republic, and that's pretty cool. But whereas cMOOC communities persist and do meaningful things in the world, in general xMOOC communities are less robust. They don't persist. They connect students as students, but not as colleagues.
Designing Open Materials Intentionally for the Blended Classroom
One of the interesting things that is going on right now is that MOOC providers, unable to find a path to sustainability in the direct-to-consumer market, have now positioned themselves as providers of materials for campus-based flipped classes, part of a larger trend Amy Collier and I have been referring to as the "distributed flip".
I'm glad to see some of the focus is now at on helping the 70% of American high school graduates who enroll in college to have a more engaging and educational experience, one that might lead to graduation rather than just debt. But why would materials that were developed for massive, fully-online classes of self-learning adults be suited for use in the blended classroom?
There’s really four elements companies like Coursera have brought to the table.