Adaptive Learners, Not Adaptive Learning
JULY 20, 2016
Some variation of adaptive or personalized learning is rumoured to “disrupt” education in the near future. The prospects are tantalizing: each student receiving personal guidance (from software) about what she should learn next and support provided (by the teacher) when warranted. End result?
Being Human in a Digital Age
SEPTEMBER 2, 2016
I’m exploring what it means to be human in a digital age and what role universities play in developing learners for this experience. Against the backdrop of everything is changing , we aren’t paying enough attention to what we are becoming. The Becoming is the central role of education in a machine learning, artificial intelligence era.
Adios Ed Tech. Hola something else.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2015
I’ve been involved in educational technology since the late 1990′s when I was at Red River College and involved in deploying the first laptop program in Canada. Since that time, I’ve been involved in many technology deployments in learning and in researching those deployments. Sometimes it was about righting a wrong or injustice.
White House: Innovation in Higher Education
AUGUST 3, 2015
A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to the White House. The invitation was somewhat cryptic, but basically stated that the focus on the meeting was on quality and innovation. The event organizers made it clear that no media or social media was allowed during the event in order to have an open brainstorming session. The White House is secure.
The Future of Learning: Digital, Distributed, Data-Driven
MAY 12, 2016
Yesterday as I was traveling (with free wifi from the good folks at Norwegian Air, I might add), I caught this tweet from Jim Groom: @dkernohan @cogdog @mweller A worthwhile think piece for sure, almost up there with "China is My Analytics Co-Pilot" — Jim Groom (@jimgroom) May 11, 2016. Cause I’m a baby like that.
The future of higher education and other imponderables
JUNE 16, 2012
We will be running an open online course from Oct 8-Nov 16 , 2012, addressing some of the concepts in this post. Registration is free (duh). adapted ).
Remaking education in the image of our desires
APRIL 19, 2012
The current generation of students will witness the remaking of our education system. Education faces enormous pressure. It’s much, much bigger.
What is the theory that underpins our moocs?
JUNE 3, 2012
If you’re even casually aware of what is happening in higher education, you’ve likely heard of massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Personal Learning Graphs (PLeG)
JULY 2, 2015
Personalized and adaptive learning has been described as the so-called holy grail of education. The idea is not new , though its technological instantiation is getting increased attention. Many of the personalized learning systems now available begin with an articulation of the knowledge space – i.e. what the learner needs to know.
Openness: Why learners should know about, and influence, how decisions are made about their learning
FEBRUARY 10, 2012
The theme of the event was on open source culture and whether the promises of open source have been oversold. Rigid systems break in periods of flux.
Preparing for the Digital University
APRIL 30, 2015
We’ve released a new report: Preparing for the Digital University: a review of the history and current state of distance, blended, and online learning (.pdf). Sometimes new is not better, especially when it impacts the lives of people. Remember the failure of Udacity and San Jose State University project ? This is bad innovation.
MOOCs are really a platform
JULY 25, 2012
We can officially declare massive open online courses (MOOCs) as the higher education buzzword for 2012. MOOCs are a platform.
Neoliberalism and MOOCs: Amplifying nonsense
JULY 8, 2013
I’ve said this many times over the past six months: If 2012 was the year of the MOOC, 2013 will be the year of the anti-MOOC. Things are unfolding nicely according to plan. Faculty don’t like MOOCs. Critiquing MOOCs is now more fashionable than advocating for them. The faculty response to MOOCs is particularly important.
The vulnerability of learning
JANUARY 13, 2014
In a meeting with a group of doctoral students last week, one individual shared her challenging, even emotionally draining, experience in taking her first doctoral course. Much of her experience was not focused on the learning or content. While this is a laudable goal, it is an impoverished and malnourished view of education. ”).
The Failure of Udacity
NOVEMBER 15, 2013
Well, there it is folks. After two years of hype, breathless proclamations about how Udacity will transform higher education, Silicon Valley blindness to existing learning research, and numerous articles/interviews featuring Sebastian Thrun, Udacity has failed. We have a lousy product…It was a painful moment.”". ”".
Innovation in open online courses
OCTOBER 7, 2014
In a few weeks, our edX course Data, Analytics, and Learning (#DALMOOC https://www.edx.org/course/utarlingtonx/utarlingtonx-link5-10x-data-analytics-2186 ) will start. We (Carolyn Rose, Dragan Gasevic, Ryan Baker, and I) have spent the last several months thinking through the course structure and format. Everything now has social attached.
Open Learning Analytics
APRIL 11, 2014
The future of systems such as business, government, and education will be data centric. Historically, humanity has made sense of the world through discourse, dialogue, artifacts, myth, story, and metaphor. While those sensemaking approaches won’t disappear, they will be augmented by data and analytics. These are obviously important questions.
Responding to the fragmentation of higher education
FEBRUARY 16, 2013
Thanks for Valerie Irvine and Jillianne Code from TIE Lab and the Faculty of Education for hosting me. Video and slides are embedded below.
Bundling and Re-bundling
JULY 22, 2014
I’m at the Knewton Symposium – an event focusing on the future of digital learning. This is the second year that I’ve attended. It’s a small event (last year had ~20 attendees, this year it’s closer to 60+). Now the narrative has coalesced around: 1. economics and funding, 2. access and affordability, 3.
MOOCs: How did we get here?
NOVEMBER 7, 2013
I’m at the Open Education conference in Park City, Utah. Slides and video are below. Open Education 2013 from gsiemens
The greatest MOOC conference in the history of MOOCs
OCTOBER 2, 2013
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to receive a steady stream of media attention. The conversation is more nuanced now than it was a few years ago as attention has turned to credit, the impact on faculty, learner success, and related challenges. They are evolving and improving. And they are not going away anytime soon. The Conference.
Losing interest in social media: there is no there there
JULY 30, 2011
Google+ was a bit of a breaking point for me. After recreating my online social network ( largely based on blogs from early 2000) in Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Quora, G+ was a chore. Sure, I’ll still continue to participate in those spaces periodically – as soon as this post is done, I’ll tweet it and share it on G+.
Congrats to Paul-Olivier Dehaye: MassiveTeaching
JULY 9, 2014
In a previous post , I commented on the Massive Teaching course at Coursera and that something odd was happening. Either Coursera deleted the prof from the course or the prof was running some type of experiment. It now appears to be primarily the latter. The story has now been covered by The Chronicle ( here and here ) and Inside Higher Ed ( here ).
Digital Learning Research Network (dLRN)
NOVEMBER 18, 2014
Higher education is digitizing. All aspects of it, including administration, teaching/learning, and research. The process of becoming digital has important implications for how learning occurs and how research happens and how it is shared. I’m happy to announce the formation of the digital Learning Research Network (dLRN), funded by a $1.6m
Duplication theory of educational value
SEPTEMBER 15, 2011
Higher education faces a value crisis. Value is a fuzzy concept. In theory, I can purchase a $3 steak that isn’t a good value.
Group work advice for MOOC providers
MARCH 10, 2013
The most valuable aspect of MOOCs is that the large number of learners enables the formation of sub-networks based on interested, geography, language, or some other attribute that draws individuals together. With 20 students in a class, limited options exist for forming sub-networks. When you have 5,000 students, new configurations are possible.
Open Learning Analytics: A proposal
DECEMBER 10, 2011
Learning analytics are increasingly relevant, and prominent, in education. Suddenly, everything was “social”. Sign up is available here.
Google+ – fundamental misunderstanding of networks?
JULY 10, 2011
I’ve been playing around with Google+. As others have stated, it’s Google’s best foray into social networking. It’s an impressive product, defined by Google’s typical clean interface. Elgg – with its varied activity feed – is an early implementation of Circles. Yes, I’ll remember that.
Announcing: aWEAR Conference: Wearables and Learning
MAY 28, 2016
Over the past year, I’ve been whining about how wearable technologies will have a bigger impact on how we learn, communicate, and function as a society than mobile devices have had to date. Fitness trackers, smart clothing, VR, heart rate monitors, and other devices hold promising potential in helping understand our learning and our health.
Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning
MAY 21, 2012
In 2009 Peter Tittenberger and I wrote a handbook of emerging technologies for learning. We created a supporting website (wiki) for the book. Those fine folks at University of Manitoba (motto: we’ve never met a permanent link that we haven’t made unpermanent) have deleted the wiki and the website.
The race to platform education
OCTOBER 13, 2011
Across the full spectrum of education – primary, secondary, and higher – we are witnessing a race to develop platforms for content, learning, teaching, and evaluation. And the reason is simple: companies are in a landrush to create platforms that will tie together previously disconnected activities and tools. More on that in a bit.
What does it mean to be human in a digital age?
MAY 22, 2016
It has been about 30 months now since I took on the role to lead the LINK Research Lab at UTA. (I have retained a cross appointment with Athabasca University and continue to teach and supervise doctoral students there). This post summarizes some of our current research and other activities in the lab. Finding our Identity. Who are we? That bombed.
“I can’t teach at Stanford again”
JANUARY 23, 2012
Open online courses really mess things up. The force educators/funders/learners to question the value point of traditional education. There is substance to massive open online courses (MOOCs) that goes well beyond the current buzz and hype. Udacity will build on the open course models of teaching and learning. ”
What’s next for educational software?
AUGUST 13, 2013
Most educational software instantiates physical learning spaces. This is reflected in learning management systems, virtual classrooms, and interactive whiteboards. Essentially, we use new tools to do the work of old tools and largely fail, at first, to identify and advance the unique affordances of new technology. Call it embodied cognition.
Instructure: we know. we learn.
JUNE 14, 2012
It took me about two hours to setup and organize my first course in the platform. is a smooth process by the standars of any LMS.
Open Letter to Canadian Universities
JULY 6, 2012
Dear Canadian Universities, You are, as the cool 4chan/Reddit kids say, about to get pwned. The dramatic entrance of elite US universities into online learning will change the education landscape globally. Where we, as Canadian higher education institutions, should be leading, we are laggards. We are not without examples of what happens.
Sebastian Thrun confuses me: Thoughts on Udacity’s openness project
SEPTEMBER 10, 2013
Sebastian Thrun confuses me. He is without a doubt a very bright person, with a resume that includes Google, self-driving cars, and Glasses. He took a bold step early in the MOOC game when he left Stanford to start Udacity. He exhibits vision and focus – two vital and often rare attributes. This is the Thrun that I respect. Learn it yourself.
The open access debate
OCTOBER 19, 2011
He presented on the state of openness in education.
MOOCs: Expectations and Reality
MAY 13, 2014
In spite of (because of?) significant media attention, the dialogue around MOOCs has been more theoretical than informed. Research is lagging well behind rhetoric. Fortunately, that is starting to change. My only quibble is with the attempt of Andrew Ng (Coursera) to rename xMOOCs as Modern MOOCs. Very little modern about it.
Done doing keynotes
SEPTEMBER 7, 2013
I hope that this post doesn’t come across as excessively self-serving. I’m trying to communicate a change in my professional interest to a group of folks that have provided me with many opportunities. I’ve started, stopped, and deleted similar posts about half a dozen times in the last 18 months. We like clear answers.