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All MOOCs, All The Time

Very thought-provoking statement from George Siemens on Twitter:

I think competency-based learning is where things are going. Learning unit reduced from courses to competencies.

If he is correct (I believe he is), this has a lot of implication on the things we usually talk about in relationship to MOOCs:  economics, the University (and the entire formal education system), the student.  We don’t talk as much about the social and cultural role of education (to be fair, we don’t talk about it much these days at all), and we talk less about the role of educators and instructors (except when we question their veracity and effect on measurable metrics).  It all ties together though, and if we are looking at competencies, we are looking at a marginalization of the educator (at best).  It might help a bottom line, but what effect does it have outside of economics?

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Puzzling Mix

Two days have passed since the collaborative #etmooc experience. I'm catching up: The weather is much improved and I have a reliable Internet connection with which to move data. The point of this post is the cMOOC (connectivist Massive Open Online Course) as described during the #etmooc Orientation Week Activity.

A few days before #etmooc began I read in a research paper where elaborative interrogation and self-explanation were found to be highly effective learning techniques (Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan & Willingham, 2013). The self-explanation part I understood right off: framing what I read or experience within what I already know. I'm coming to understand, finally after a couple years groping for meaning, that the elaborative interrogation piece comes (best for me) from connecting with others of like-mind.

So there you are: dawning understanding of how research, educational technology and social media come together to foster learning.

More later.


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All MOOCs, All The Time

Gregory Ferenstein uses Udacity’s recent partnership with San Jose State University (part of the California State University system) as evidence of the beginning of the end of higher education (and said teaching profession) as we know it.  The post is everything that drives me crazy about 21st Century journalism:  anecdote as proof, charismatic author as authority, grounded theory and research be damned.  I don’t disagree that this partnership could change higher education; of course, the inclusion of television stations at most major and minor universities across America in the 1970s was supposed to do the same thing, and twenty years later most of these expensive studios were shuttered (see Baggaley’s excellent Harmonizing Global Education for more on prior movements in educational technology and mainstream educational institutions).  You should read the article for yourself, but my takeaways:

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‘History Harvest’ Project May Spawn a New Kind of MOOC – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education

‘History Harvest’ Project May Spawn a New Kind of MOOC – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

By Craig Weiss

If you are a bricks and mortar college or university, you may be considering offering online courses. Heck, you may have already begun to offer them.

The problem is there is a right way to do it and lots of wrong ways to do it. What I’m seeing is a lot of bad.


When you ask folks what was the first 100% online university most will say the University of Phoenix. Sadly, they would be wrong. The first was Jones International, which also was the first accredited online university. The problem with JI was their name. I mean if you saw that a person had a degree from Jones International, you would immediately think to yourself, “Is that a paper mill school”?

After Jones International, the number of “for-profit” online universities started to pop up everywhere. Yet they still face the same challenges as that of Jones International (despite…

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“Digital Boon or Digital Doom? The Virtual Future of Higher Education”: A Panel Discussion

Electronic Textuality and Theory at Western

Digital Boon or Digital Doom: The Virtual Future of Higher Education

There is word from the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western of an upcoming panel discussion that is bound to be of interest to digital humanists and those interested in online education! The list of speakers for this event should especially attract attention.

“Digital Boon or Digital Doom? The Virtual Future of Higher Education”

Please mark January 16th in your calendar and join us early in the New Year for this panel discussion examining higher education’s adoption of digital technologies. Pro or Con? Boon or doom?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
5:00 p.m.
North Campus Building 113

The panel will be moderated by Ira Basen, longtime CBC Radio journalist, documentarian and 2012 CanWest Global Fellow in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Panelists include George Siemens of Athabasca University, Jonathan Schaeffer of the University of Alberta, Elizabeth Hanson of Queens, Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University…

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