July 9th, 2010

Edublogger Review
A "mash-up" of postings from nine engaging educational and e-learning bloggers.

Published by: philosophyandrew

from below are fewer and slipperier than they once were. More education can help with that to some degree, but at some level, if the demand for employees just isn’t there, it just isn’t there. Put differently, student loans don’t seem so burdensome when you have a well-paying job upon graduation. When the job isn’t there, the loans suddenly loom large, but they’re really more a symptom than a cause. The lack of the job is the cause. This is probably obvious at some level, but political discourse sometimes skips important steps. I’d hate to see higher education punished for the sins of the broader economy. Assuming that Achieving the Dream and the Gates-funded projects bear fruit, and colleges do a better job of helping struggling students brush up their skills and complete degree programs, I wouldn’t necessarily expect the jobs to follow. Over time, I’d guess that an educated workforce would be more productive than an uneducated one, but there could be a delay long enough to obscure the connection. And in the meantime, those student loan payments don’t win many friends.

Mobility
Source: http://suburbdad.blogspot.com/2010/07/mobility.html By Dean Dad on July 9th, 2010

This piece , and its attendant comments, stuck in my craw a little. It’s a discussion with an author of a book about the obstacles to low-income students’ success in college. The author obviously means well, and wants to see students succeed. And there isn’t much arguing with much of what he mentions: complicated family lives, shaky academic preparation, and finances all pose real obstacles. Yup, they do. In the cc world, we see that every day. And I absolutely agree with him that community colleges have a key role to play, especially when the K-12 system in some areas just isn’t getting the job done. All of that said, though, sometimes I wonder if we’re asking higher ed to do too much. It’s great when we’re able to help students become truly competitive for the good jobs out there. But when the economy just isn’t producing those jobs in sufficient number, getting even more students prepared is of limited short-term value. Of course, economic mobility isn’t the only ‘good’ that education serves. I like to think that, say, a literate and numerate electorate will generally make better choices; a literate and numerate population will make for better jury pools; and that the very real expansion of mental horizons that good education can foster is a good in itself, in addition to whatever eventual economic payoff it may generate. But to the extent that ‘income polarization’ is the problem and ‘higher education’ is the solution, I suspect we’re outgunned. To see that, we don’t have to go much farther than higher education itself. For a putatively liberal population, we have a markedly inegalitarian reward structure. That’s true within institutions -- compare the salary per course of senior tenured faculty to the pay adjuncts receive for the same courses -- and between them; the salary scale at the typical cc is far below that of a state university, even with higher teaching loads. (One of my recurring fantasies has Gail Mellow achieving high political office and actually enacting the per-student funding parity between sectors of higher ed that she has advocated for years.) Outside of higher ed, the trend is actually somewhat less pronounced, but it’s still there. Routes into the middle class

Moving social networked learning forward
Source: http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2010/07/08/moving-socialnetworked-learning-forward/ By gsiemens on July 9th, 2010

I’ve mentioned Athabasca University’s Landing previously. The Landing is a social network (based on Elgg) that we’ve deployed to increase social connectedness at Athabasca. I’ve posted a few thoughts on what needs to be done to move social networked learning forward .

Schwerpunkt: Management
Source: http://www.jarche.com/2010/07/schwerpunkt-management/ By Harold Jarche on July 9th, 2010

Survey results from a 2009 Chief Learning Officer survey showed that 77% of respondents felt that people in their organization were not growing fast enough to keep up with the business. And what have the learning and development (L&D) specialists been doing about it? Not much it seems. Donald Clark reports that decision-makers at UK organizations feel that: • 55% claim L&D failing to deliver necessary training • 46% doubt L&D can deliver • less than18% agree that L&D aligned with business But let’s not blame just L&D. Human Resources (HR) seem to be out of sync with organizational needs as well, nicely summed up in a recent FastCompany article:
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July 9th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

I think successful organizations are very rigorous and creative about getting profitable work from their employees, their managers, and their business units. The problem is, those organizations don’t expect as much from HR, hence HR is usually not overseen, not measured, and not judged for its performance. It’s the department no one wants to be responsible for. It’s the department that is not subjected to outcomes analysis. But the real culprit is management and that’s what needs to change. Steve Denning blames the Harvard Business School mindset for holding back organizational progress and goes on to explain how senior management kills innovation in many areas, including knowledge management: So even when an oasis of excellence and innovation is established within an organization being run on traditional management lines, the experience doesn’t take root and replicate throughout the organization because the setting isn’t congenial. The fundamental assumptions, attitudes and values are at odds with those of traditional management. I’m seeing that all of our initiatives for increased knowledgesharing; communities of practice; social business; or networked learning are rather futile unless management itself changes. The real chasm at work is between the C-suite and the K-workers. I’m not sure how to change this, but the focus (or in German: schwerpunkt) has be on three things: management, management & management. Anything else is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

"There really is this culture of, 'This is New Jersey. Who wants to be in New Jersey?' " Read more at: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/ nj/20100707_New_Jersey_hopes_to_keep_college_students_instate.html#ixzz0t7sJcyGc

A Twitteraholic's Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter
Source: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=52843 July 9th, 2010

If you're still wondering which way is up in the Twitterverse, this post is for you. Sue Waters offers the introductory landscape, spoken with the experience of a Twitter aficionado. Sue Waters , The Edublogger , July 8, 2010 1:58 p.m.. [ Link ] [Tags: Twitter , Experience ] [ Previous ][ Next ]

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New Jersey Can't Keep Its College Students At Home
Source: http://keptup.typepad.com/academic/2010/07/new-jersey-cantkeep-its-college-students-at-home.html By StevenB on July 9th, 2010

Well Played, Blackboard
Source: http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2010/07/08/well-playedblackboard/ By gsiemens on July 9th, 2010

New Jersey exports more college students than any other state, and its colleges and universities attract relatively few students from elsewhere. Several factors influence New Jersey's student migration, experts say. The state is surrounded by cities - New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington - with high-caliber universities. Garden State public institutions have neither the prestige to attract the state's top students nor money to develop it. What's more, experts say, New Jersey has an identity issue. "There is a reverse-snobbery," said Cigus Vanni, a counselor at Cherry Hill High School West who is active in the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.

While Blackboard is unable to write a press release that includes clear statements like “we have purchased these companies”, I have to give the company credit for the acquisition of Elluminate (and Wimba). With increased competition and general maturity of the market, Blackboard made what is likely its most important acquisition to date. Here’s why. The learning management system market has become somewhat of a commodity – Blackboard has attempted to hold high market share through acquisitions (notably WebCT and Angel). However, open source initiatives like Moodle offer reasonable alternatives. Desire2Learn – the object of a failed Blackboard lawsuit (new t-shirt slogan for BB “all I got
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July 9th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

from this lawsuit was this lousy reputation”) – continues to be an active player (a reasonable argument could be made that Blackboard is largely responsible for the rapid uptake of Moodle following the announcement of its lawsuit…has anyone done a market share analysis that traces adoption of Moodle in relation to the lawsuit? A bit ironic that BB is likely responsible for the unintended success of one of its largest competitors). A North American-centric market share diagram is available here. In Europe, Fronter is also a prominent LMS provider. Take a step back to 2001/02: pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook preTwitter. During this period, online learning was a mess. No clear direction on standards. Web 2.0 was not yet a marketing term and conference paper buzzword. Most of the focus in online learning was on content creation tools and delivery systems (like the LMS). LMS providers were signing state/ provincial and regional contracts, essentially locking in entire systems. Most administrators – and I think this is still true today – were unaware of e-pedagogy or teaching and learning with technology in general. Rather than being an enabler of new learning opportunities, technology was largely and extension of existing classrooms or distance learning models. Very little consideration was given to the strategic adoption of technology. Over the last eight years, the market has experience enormous change (web 2.0, virtual worlds, social media, networked learning). But many things have settled in the process. Some universities are beginning to focus on a big-picture view of technology: making learning resources available in multimedia, integrating technology from design to delivery, using mobile technologies, and increased focus on network pedagogy. Blackboard (and LMS’ in general) have been able to present the message that “you need an LMS to do blended and online learning”. To counter this view, the edupunk/DIY approach to learning has produced an emphasis on personal learning environments and networks. To date, this movement has generated a following from a small passionate group of educators, but has not really made much of an impact on traditional education. I don’t suspect it will until, sadly, it can be commoditized and scaled to fit into existing systemic models of education. Perhaps Downes’ Plearn research project, or OU’s SocialLearn project will prove me wrong (I really hope they do!!). For the purposes of this post, however, the brave new world of online learning will be dominated by LMS like Moodle, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and regional players like Fronter. Synchronous teaching, learning, and collaboration tools have matured significantly during this time period. In academia, Wimba and Elluminate are the dominant players. Adobe Connect has somewhat of an academic presence, but it has seen far more success in corporate settings, similar to WebEx and GoToMeeting. Synchronous tools represent the fastest growing technology segment in education, and the one with the greatest prospect for future growth. Over the last few years, I’ve been a community partner with Elluminate (an arrangement that expires (is up for renewal?) on July 19). Together with people like Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, Tony Karrer, Jay Cross, and others, I’ve run courses and conferences with tens of thousands of participants. Elluminate

was an integral part of these activities. Consistently, the technology of the course/conference that received the most compliments was Elluminate. Budget cuts and constraints in education will continue drive the appeal of synchronous tools. Blackboard’s purchase marks an important shift in trajectory – even maturation – for the LMS marketplace. Integration, not the platform itself, is now the critical focus. LMS companies have for years formed partnerships with content producers and with synchronous tools – I believe both BB and Desire2Learn had partnerships with Elluminate and Wimba. To be effective in the long term, large LMS companies will need to pull more and more of the education experience under their umbrella. Why? Well, technology is getting complex. Very complex. Which means that decisions makers are motivated (partly out of fear of appearing ill-informed, partly out of not wanting to take risks) to adopt approaches that integrate fairly seamlessly across the education spectrum. Why buy an LMS when you can buy the educational process? This puts companies like Desire2Learn in a bind. I’ve met John Baker – CEO of Desire2Learn – numerous times. He’s an extremely informed and capable person. I suspect he has a good sense of the shift from LMS-as-platform to LMS-asintegration. And, in a small field like ours, the Elluminate/ Wimba acquisition was probably signaled to insiders. But what does D2L do now that it has a competitor that has pulled a key market segment under its umbrella? The most obvious response is to look for similar companies to purchase. But who is left? Blackboard did not buy into the synchronous education market with the Elluminate and Wimba purchase – they bought the market. Sure, there are open source initiatives, but every conference where I have presented using a tool other than Elluminate or Connect has had technical problems. The open source market for synchronous tools is not well developed. The best option at this stage is for D2L to announce funding and development support for an open source tool like Big Blue Button. Better yet, initiate (fund) a consortium of educational institutions that will provide funds and development support for the tool. I’m sure there are many individuals who would be pleased to assist in moving things forward (I know I would). In the mean time, well played, Blackboard! Your acquisition will have a far greater long term impact in educational technology than most people realize…

Fewer Low-Income Students Attending College
Source: http://keptup.typepad.com/academic/2010/07/fewer-lowincomestudents-attending-college.html By StevenB on July 9th, 2010

Fewer low- and moderate-income high school graduates are attending college in America, and fewer are graduating. Enrollment in four-year colleges was 40% in 2004 for lowincome students, down from 54% in 1992, and 53% in 2004 for moderate-income students. College expenses and financial aid have become increasingly larger considerations for parents and students, driving more qualified students away from enrolling in four-year colleges. Read more at:
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July 9th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/07/07/fewer-lowincome-students-going-to-college/

Formal Learning All the Way...Baby
Source: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=52842 July 9th, 2010

and where the campus can grow. As the university and city continue to work out a development agreement it became evident that there need to be some changes to the city's master plan, Read more at: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/07/02/1713494/ gables-gets-on-board-with-growth.html#ixzz0t1H9N9XJ

Karl Kapp defends formal learning: "Anything less is not as effective and the performance will not be guaranteed." he explains that when lives are on the line, people are trained formally in established procedures. "The learning process is studied, calculated and formalized to a degree of realism as close to 100% as possible... The fidelity between the environment in which the performance is required and the environment in which it is trained and practiced is extremely high." It's a good case - but I wonder whether it's a good case for simulations and learning environment, as opposed to being a good case for formal learning. Karl Kapp , Kapp Notes , July 8, 2010 6:17 a.m.. [ Link ] [Tags: Online Learning , Simulations ] [ Previous ][ Next ]

Imagine courses that take place in wikis, blogs, social networks…
Source: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=52841 July 9th, 2010

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Teemu Leinonen introduces EduFeedr , "a web-based feed reader that is designed specifically for following and supporting learners in open blog-based courses. " He explains, "typical RSS readers are not very suitable for following this kind of courses. Most of the RSS readers such as Google Reader are designed for personal use. In a Wikiversity course it would be important to have a shared feed reader that all the participants could use." Interesting concept. Teemu Leinonen , FLOSSE Posse , July 8, 2010 6:11 a.m.. [ Link ] [Tags: Networks , Google , RSS , Web Logs ] [ Previous ][ Next ]

Comments
glen, July 8, 2010 3:22 p.m. I teach a couple of University courses where all the course content is in a regular Wikispaces wiki and all participant activity, (blogs, wikis, podcasts, videocasts etc.) is displayed or linked in their own blog, usually Blogger. I provide feedback in the comments. We use Google reader (I used to use Bloglines before their picture wall feature started displaying the occasional porn image) to gather, sort, aggregate and share. IMO it is adequately customizable for any purpose. The thing I don't like about the idea of a specialized formal Education RSS reader (or any other tool) is that it reinforces the unhelpful distinction between life and learning. [Comment] [Permalink] [Previous][Next] Comment You are not logged in. [Login] Title Your comment: Enter email to receive replies: Your comments always remain your property, but in posting them here you agree to license under the same terms as this site ( Creative Commons ). If your comment is offensive it will be deleted.

U Of Miami Works With City Commission For Master Planning
Source: http://keptup.typepad.com/academic/2010/07/u-of-miami-workswith-city-commission-for-master-planning.html By StevenB on July 9th, 2010

The Coral Gables Commission gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a University of Miami proposal to change the city's master plan to help the school expand in the future. Commissioners said Wednesday the amendments -- which include exempting the campus from certain traffic restrictions -- are the first step in the process to developing an agreement with the 15,000-student university that will clearly define how

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July 9th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

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UX Myths
Source: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=52840 July 9th, 2010

Your comment: Enter email to receive replies: Your comments always remain your property, but in posting them here you agree to license under the same terms as this site ( Creative Commons ). If your comment is offensive it will be deleted. Automated Spam-checking is in effect. If you are a registered user you may submit links and other HTML. Anonymous users cannot post links and will have their content screened - certain words are prohibited and your comment will be analyzed to make sure it makes sense.

Nice site that details, and debunks, a series of usability myths. Some of my favorites involve not listening to user feedback. Myth #21 , for example, states that `people make confident but false predictions about their future behavior, especially when presented with a new and unfamiliar design. There's a huge difference between imagining using something and actually using it. In addition, human preferences are rather unstable." There's plenty of evidence to back up this claim, along with the rest. Zoltán Gócza and Zoltán Kollin , Website , July 8, 2010 6:04 a.m.. [ Link ] [Tags: Usability ] [ Previous ][ Next ]

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First Reactions to Blackboard Buying Wimba and Elluminate
Source: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=52839 July 9th, 2010

Reactions to the Blackboard acquisition of Wimba and Elluminate. Joshua Kim says this is very smart for Blackboard, but customers should be worried about lockin. Steve Kolowich surveys Twitter reaction. Barry Dahl says "Blackborg rides again." George Siemens comments (accurately) that the messaging from Blackboard on this is meaningless. Nothing like starting a new product line with a misrepresentation. Joshua Kim , Inside Higher Ed , July 8, 2010 5:21 a.m.. [ Link ] [Tags: Audio Chat and Conferencing , Twitter , Blackboard Inc. ] [ Previous ][ Next ]

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