Adaptive Learners, Not Adaptive Learning
JULY 20, 2016
Some variation of adaptive or personalized learning is rumoured to “disrupt” education in the near future. Adaptive courseware providers have received extensive funding and this emerging marketplace has been referred to as the “holy grail” of education (Jose Ferreira at an EdTech Innovation conference that I hosted in Calgary in 2013).
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. It’s great to see people like Michael Wesch exploring the formative aspect of education.
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. Some have been systems-level – like a learning management system. Others have been more decentralized and unstructured – like blogs, wikis, and social media.
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. This invite was then followed a week later with a link to a post by Ted Mitchell, Undersecretary of Education, on Innovation and Quality in Higher Education , to help prepare for the conversation.
What I’ve learned in my first week of a dual-layer MOOC (DALMOOC)
OCTOBER 28, 2014
This last week we launched our open course on Data, Analytics, and Learning on edX. The course is structured in a dual layer model, an approach that Matt Crosslin has nicely articulated. We have 20,000 registered students, with 32% having actually logged in and taken part in the course.
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). The discussion below is part of a proposed text with Johns Hopkins University Press that I’m co-authoring with Dave Cormier and Bonnie Stewart.
Remaking education in the image of our desires
APRIL 19, 2012
The current generation of students will witness the remaking of our education system. Change is happening on many fronts: economic, technological, paradigmatic, social, and the natural cycles of change that occur in complex social/technical systems.
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). They have been covered by NY Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, TV programs, newspapers, and a mess or blogs.
Openness: Why learners should know about, and influence, how decisions are made about their learning
FEBRUARY 10, 2012
Earlier this week, I delivered a presentation to TEDxEdmonton on why openness and learning analytics are critical for rethinking the future of education. The theme of the event was on open source culture and whether the promises of open source have been oversold.
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. In a well-funded education system, personalized instruction happens when guided by a teacher as each students strengths and weaknesses and knowledge gaps are known.
MOOCs are really a platform
JULY 25, 2012
We can officially declare massive open online courses (MOOCs) as the higher education buzzword for 2012. Between Coursera, edX and smaller open course offerings, nearly $100 million in funding has been directed toward MOOCs in that past 8 months.
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).
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. Numerous quasi-connected fields that thrive on being against things have now coalesced to be against MOOCs. It’s great fun. I am very pleased to see substantial critiques of MOOCs.
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. Instead, she shared her self-doubts, her frustrations of integrating doctoral studies into her personal and professional life, the fatigue of learning, and feeling overwhelmed.
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.
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. This is a short overview of the innovations that we want to explore during the course.
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. Educators often find analytics frustrating. After all, how can you analyze the softer aspects of learning?
Responding to the fragmentation of higher education
FEBRUARY 16, 2013
In early February, I had the pleasure of delivering a presentation to University of Victoria on the state of higher education and challenges of fragmentation. 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+). Knewton brings in a range of speakers and leaders in education, ranging from startups to big edtech companies and publishers to faculty and advocates for some type of change.
MOOCs: How did we get here?
NOVEMBER 7, 2013
I’m at the Open Education conference in Park City, Utah. The conference is now in its impressive 10th year. I did a presentation following Andrew Ng (Coursera). Slides and video are below.
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. I spent a few weeks of responding to G+ friend requests, trying to engage with a few people, posting a few random links, all the while trying to upkeep (occasionally) Twitter and (almost never) Facebook.
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. MOOCs, like personal learning environments and networks (PLE, PLN) from mid-2000′s, are not a specific thing so much as a movement.
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 ). Thoughtful reflections have been provided by Rolin Moe and Jonathan Rees. Participants on Twitter have also had their say.
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. Or a $20 hamburger that is a great value. Similarly, I could purchase a house for $500k that was a great value pre-2008 and is suddenly a terrible value in 2011.
Open Learning Analytics: A proposal
DECEMBER 10, 2011
Learning analytics are increasingly relevant, and prominent, in education. Startups and established software vendors are targeting learning analytics in their product offerings for the education and training and development sector.
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 grant from the Gates Foundation – more info here.
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.
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. The idea of “circles is somewhat related to Twitter Lists and is helpful for organizing friends/colleagues and tracking different activity streams.
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. After all, the internet is running out of links and it’s important that we prune sites regularly.
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. As liberating as the web is, tremendous centralization of control is occurring in numerous spaces: Google in search/advertising/Android, Amazon in books/cloud computing, Facebook in social networks, etc. I use a smaller range of tools today than I did five years ago.
“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. Over the past four years, many different open online courses have been offered – some through formal universities (U of Manitoba – Stephen Downes and I, BYU – David Wiley, U of Regina – Alec Couros, Stanford – Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, U of Illinois -Ray Schroeder).
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. The internet fragments information and antagonizes pre-established information structures.
Instructure: we know. we learn.
JUNE 14, 2012
I’ve been using Instructure for several weeks for a course that I’m teaching with Tecnológico de Monterrey on networked and connected learning.
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. The geography and distributed sparse population of Canada lends itself well to technology-enhanced learning.
The open access debate
OCTOBER 19, 2011
At the EDUCAUSE 2011 conference today, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Hal Abelson – founding director of Free Software Foundation and Creative Commons. He presented on the state of openness in education.
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. When Coursera and edX aggressively signed up university partners, he actually contracted Udacity’s university affiliation (dropping Dino 101) to focus on technology only courses. He exhibits vision and focus – two vital and often rare attributes.
This kids, is why hallucinogenics and the internet don’t mix
MARCH 26, 2012
I had to do a quick double take on this article (first, to determine if it was April 1, anywhere in the world): Evolution Unbound: Blackboard embraces open source. This is what I imagine the experience would be like if one dropped hallucinogenics and browsed the web – a feeling of incredulity and weird confusion that can only come from time and reality being featured in a will it blend video. I’m not surprised that Blackboard is interested in openness.
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. Rather than trying to get the statement right, it’s probably best to just get it out!
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. Fiona Hollands and Devayani Tirthali from Teachers College, Columbia University, have released what is the most informed analysis of MOOCs that I have read to date: MOOCs: Expectations and Reality (.pdf).
MOOCs for the win!
MARCH 5, 2012
Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are getting attention on various blogs and news sites. I’ll try and synthesize the conversation over the last few weeks and describe the role of MOOCs in education. The Conversation so far… Clark Quinn kicked of the current conversation in MOOC Reflections where he explores the distinctions between the current generation of Coursera/Standford open online courses and the connectivist model that Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, and I have offered.