No Rich Child Left Behind, and Enriching the Rich: Why MOOCs are not improving education

via Downes @OLDaily. See commentary at

Computing Education Research Blog

When I talk to people about MOOCs these days, I keep finding myself turning to two themes.

Theme #1. Our schools aren’t getting worse.  The gap between the rich and the poor is growing.  We have more poorer kids, and they are doing worse because of everything, not just because of school.

Before we can figure out what’s happening here, let’s dispel a few myths. The income gap in academic achievement is not growing because the test scores of poor students are dropping or because our schools are in decline. In fact, average test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the so-called Nation’s Report Card, have been rising — substantially in math and very slowly in reading — since the 1970s. The average 9-year-old today has math skills equal to those her parents had at age 11, a two-year improvement in a single generation. The gains are…

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analyzing MOOCs from a social science perspective

Author discusses book offering a critical analysis of massive open online courses from a social science perspective.

Where are massive open online courses now, and where are they going? Robert A. Rhoads, professor of education at the University of California at Los Angeles, tackles those questions in MOOCs, High Technology and Higher Learning (Johns Hopkins University Press), in which he places MOOCs in the broader context of open courseware.

Source: Author discusses book analyzing massive open online courses from a social science perspective | Inside Higher Ed

The Big Data Privacy Problem for Open College Courses


cheap data collection


The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the future of universities was absorbed earlier this year into several other councils–a mistake, in my view, since none of the other councils have institutional focus–but several of the white papers live on. This one on the privacy issues inherent in learning analytics generated some interest in 2012, but the big data aspects of higher education seemed like an abstraction to many council members. Over the past year it has started to loom large (see here and here, for example).  I happen to be a big fan of analytics.  Data from the 700,000 students enrolled in Georgia Tech’s Coursera MOOCs have already had an impact on the quality of residential instruction. However, one of my day jobs is cybersecurity, which has made me sensitive to new technologies that have not paid sufficient attention to security and privacy. This white paper…

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MOOCow Meets The Hound of the Baskervilles – #twistedpair

Connection not Content




Hound of the Baskervilles

(The Demon Dog of Dover by Shadow-lightning)

Hound of the Baskervilles:


MooCow: Beg Pardon?
HOB: I said, HOWOOooo … Oh never mind – it’s supposed to be scary!
MC: Connectivist cows don’t scare easily – now push off before I connect with your butt!
HOB: Hey! That’s no way to talk to an authority on education!
MC: Authority my hoof – you’ll be telling me you invented MOOCs next!
HOB: Got it in one! Best thing I ever did since corporal punishment. Why do you think I go round dropping these red pills in university water supplies? I give ’em 20th century traditional education on steroids! Turn mild-mannered professors into raving rock stars overnight. They love the attention and not having proper exams to mark helps develop their video skills – you know, make-up and a proper dress sense.
MC: Holy turnips! It’s…

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Quiet design. 12 simple design principles.

What permaculture and #rhizo15/rhizomatic learning design have in common (apologies for the spoiler)

Into the twilight...

In my purse, stashed in behind two photos of my children, is a scrap of paper with the only design principles that have ever made sense to me. Twelve simple principles as an antithesis, to a sea of educational and instructional design frameworks, some of which need maddening interrogation to explain or understand. Twelve simple principles that seem to work, whatever I throw at them.

They are understandable, no matter what your experience in life.

You can use them to approach anything. You can navigate them as a simple list, or delve deep into thick well-thumbed books and frequently cited journal articles.  There is probably even a waiting  list in your local public library for copies of these books.

They are design principles that you can intellectualise or philosophise as you please.

They can be the cleverest thinking tool and yet can also spawn you a robust do list.

You can…

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Digital Public Space; CyberSalon

not really a MOOC (MOOC.alt?) and certainly not madness but still posting it here (I will at least think about renaming the blog ~ maybe MOOC.alt?)

Open Digital Practice

Digital Citizens; From Consumers to Creators

Background; Last night (March 23rd) Cybersalon, co-ordinated by Eva Pascoe, organised one of their public events in the House of Commons discussing Digital Citizenship. This was in response to being invited to comment on 3 new government policy documents relating to the developing and evolving digital world. First of all The House of Lords Digital Skills Committee report Make or Break The UK’s Digital Future (pdf). Secondly the Speakers Commisson (John Bercow) on Digital Democracy and, as it turned out, most importantly for the debate the recent report on digital surveillance Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework (pdf) by the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Debate; Opened by Richard Barbrook statinh that “We should collectively regulate the Internet in the common interest” and expanding on his recent blog post on Digital Citizenship as democratic emancipation, he pointed out that we should not…

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10 Things Worth Sharing March 1 – 7, 2015

not entirely about MOOCs but surely enough so to qualify for Madness and — more important — a good read

Thinking Out Loud

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 5.45.10 PM

sculpture by Jonty Hurwitz original site for image

Week of March 1 – 7, 2015

Inspired by Austin Kleon, I am going to start posting a list of 10 things I think are worth sharing each week.

1.) Subscribe to Austin Kleon’s weekly list – it comes out every Friday and it is great! An eclectic mix of art, interesting things and innovations.

2.) The completion rate of moocs is an oft-sited issue that I think is bogus. The goal is not completion. Dave Cormier & George Siemens talk about moocs being like the beginnings of a conversation at a party, they help you decide if you want to stay longer. In this interview George alludes to mooc completion being “kind of like the question ‘who completes a library?’ We don’t have that mindset toward a library; we take the book we want to read and bring it back. MOOCs are…

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March of the MOOCs (serious interview)

The MOOCow interviews Gordon but mostly lectures on MOOCs…or maybe the other way around. In any case, this post is a spiffy MOOC (or whatever they are being called) catch-up. Not too mad either…

Connection not Content


MOOC Cow @MooCow

Hi G! Let me on your blog!
0 secs ago via Twitter for cPad

Gordon @Gordon_L 
@MOOCow Sure come right on! – good to see you again!

Gordon: So what have you been up to MOOCow? Can’t talk for long – doing serious coding in Python.

MOOCow: Hi G, I’ve been privately interviewing people about MOOCs – I need your frank and honest opinions.

G: Well OK, I’ll be frank as long as it really is private.

MC: Trust me G – cross two hearts and hope to die! I’ve done interviewing active MOOC participants and now I want your thoughts as a Veteran Lurker.

G: Woah MOOCow! – we don’t use the ‘L’ word now – I’m a Sampler!

MC: Oh yeah? Downloading videos from every xMOOC going and never looking at them? Following cMOOCs as if they were soap operas and now you can’t stop…

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elearnspace › Innovation in open online courses

In a few weeks, our edX course Data, Analytics, and Learning #DALMOOC  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. The innovations build heavily on community and network approaches that I and others (Stephen Downes, David Wiley, Alan Levine, Jim Groom, Dave Cormier) have used in previous open courses.

via elearnspace › Innovation in open online courses.

#MOOC/s as inventions #chals14 « @podehaye #ccourses

Paul deHaye writes

❝I just finished giving my talk on MOOCs as inventions: opportunities and risks in Goteborg, at the #chals14 meeting. This is a reunion of Swedish universities convened by Jonas Gilbert (Chalmers University Library) to discuss MOOCs.

My slides are available here.

In the talk, I discussed the idea that MOOCs are social machines put in the hands of professors.❞

Read the rest at MOOCs as inventions #chals14 | See also The Academic Social Machine, Part 1 and Social Teaching Machines