My reflections on “MOOCs of Hazard” – a well-thought out, balanced article by Andrew Delbanco


From DSC: Below are my reflections on MOOCs of Hazard — from newrepublic.com by Andrew Delbanco — who asks:  Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well…


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While I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that online education will dampen the college experience — and while I could point to some amazing capabilities that online education brings to the table in terms of true global exchanges — I’ll instead focus my comments on the following items:

 

1) Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are recent experiments — ones that will continue to change/morph into something else.
They are half-baked at best, but they should not be taken lightly. Christensen, Horn, Johnson are spot on with their theories of disruption here, especially as they relate to innovations occurring within the virtual/digital realm.  For example, the technologies behind IBM’s Watson could be mixed into the list of ingredients that will be used to develop MOOCs in the future.  It would be a very powerful, effective MOOC indeed if you could get the following parties/functionalities to the table:

  • IBM — to provide Watson like auto-curation/filtering capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, as well as data mining/learning analytics expertise, joined by
  • Several highly-creative firms from the film/media/novel/storytelling industry, who would be further joined by
  • Experts from Human Computer Interaction (HCI)/user interface/user experience design teams, who would be further joined by
  • Programmers and interaction specialists from educational gaming endeavors (and from those who can design simulations), joined by
  • Instructional designers, joined by
  • The appropriate Subject Matter Experts who can be reached by the students as necessary, joined by
  • Those skilled in research and library services, joined by
  • Legal experts to assist with copyright issues, joined by
  • Other specialists in mobile learning,  3D, web development, database administration, animation, graphic design, musicians, etc.

It won’t be long before this type of powerful team gets pulled together — from some organizations(s) with deep pockets — and the content is interacted with and presented to us within our living rooms via connected/Smart TVs and via second screen devices/applications.

2) The benefits of MOOCs
  • For colleges/universities:
    • MOOCs offer some serious marketing horsepower (rather than sound pedagogical tools, at this point in time at least)
    • They are forcing higher ed to become much more innovative
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They move us closer to team-based content creation and delivery
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  • For students:
    • They offer a much less expensive option to go exploring disciplines for themselves…to see if they enjoy (and/or are gifted in) topic A, B or C
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They provide a chance to see what it’s like to learn about something in a digital/virtual manner

3)  The drawbacks of MOOCs:
  • MOOCs are not nearly the same thing as what has come to be known as “online learning” — at least in the higher ed industry. MOOCs do not yet offer what more “traditional” (can I say that?) online learning provides: Far more support and pedagogical/instructional design, instructor presence and dialog, student academic support services, advising, more student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction, etc.
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  • MOOCs are like drinking from a firehose — there are too many blogs/RSS feeds, twitter feeds, websites, and other resources to review.

4) It would be wise for all of us to be involved with such experiments and have at least a subset of one’s college or university become much more nimble/responsive.

 

Also see:

FAQs vs. Intelligent Virtual Assistants — from nlinews.com

 

FAQs vs. Intelligent Virtual Assistants

 

Excerpt:

When we know that 96% of people visit a website before they are willing to pick up the phone to resolve a query, it makes it even more important that they get the online help they need. But remember, satisfactory online customer service isn’t just about whether a correct answer was obtained but also the ease of the experience. The key to delivering great intuitive online customer service lies within your choice of an FAQ page or Intelligent Virtual Assistant.

This table shows you the capabilities of both systems, and I know which one I would go for…

 

From DSC:
Note the “Hand over to live agent” piece of that table…

#etmooc

 

 

 

From DSC:
Below are some reflections after seeing these items:

Image1

 

 

  • Watson supercomputer goes to college, Revenge Of The Nerds style antics imminentnot an exemplary article from geekosystem.com, but the underlying topic has enormous implications
    Excerpt:
    …the team developing Watson is sending the computer to college, where it will bone up on coursework in English and math.

    While the original Watson will be staying put at the IBM research center it calls home, the hardware to run the program is being installed at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York, where researchers and grad students will be spend the next three years teaching Watson all they can while also hoping to learn more about how the software learns and make it more effective.

 

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Watson-MOOCs-NewTypesCollaboration-DChristian-2-14-13

 

From DSC:
The current set of MOOCs are very powerful, but, like a bush that needs pruning, they can become unwieldy and hard to control.  Not only do the current set of MOOCs help me to see the importance of instructional design, but trying to drink from the firehose often presents problems (i.e. wading through thousands of tweets, hundreds of blog posts, etc.).  How can we still provide openness and yet provide people with better methods/tools for setting their desired level of drinking from this firehose? Tags are helpful, but for most people, they are not doing enough to filter/curate the content at this point.

Enter the technologies being developed in IBM’s Watson, Apple’s SIRI, or in Knewton’s product lines. End-user controllable setting might include:

  • Full throttle — like current form of MOOCs — thousands of tweets, hundreds of blog posts, etc.
  • IBM Watson-enabled curation/filtering only — each individual adjusts how many items they want to see in the various portions of the interface (see above); these settings control how many items and/or streams of content get presented to you

The ideas involving learning agents, artificial intelligence, intelligent tutoring, intelligent systems and more seem to get roped in here…hmm…just thinking out loud and sharing potentially-useful ideas.

 

From DSC:

In real estate, one hear’s the mantra:
Location. Location. Location.

In higher education, I have it that we’ll be hearing this for a while:
Experimentation. Experimentation. Experimentation.

Consider the following reflections on Steve’ Kolowich’s solid article, The new intelligence (from InsideHigherEd.com)

Excerpt:

And for the largest public university in the country, it is hardly fiction. Arizona State University has become ground zero for data-driven teaching in higher education. The university has rolled out an ambitious effort to turn its classrooms into laboratories for technology-abetted “adaptive learning” — a method that purports to give instructors real-time intelligence on how well each of their students is getting each concept.
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From DSC:
Besides being used in blended learning environments…some predictions:

  • These technologies will become integrated into what MOOCs eventually morph into and provide a significant piece of the assessment/guidance puzzle
  • Such tools will be a part of one’s future learning ecosystem
  • Such tools will be part of interactive, massively open online educationally-related games
  • Such tools will be integrated into personalized learning agents — spiders/recommendation engines that scan the web for relevant items that one needs to complete one’s cognitive gaps in a subject/topic
  • They will be accessible from your living room as well as from your mobile devices
  • They will integrate into web-based learner profiles

It’s the sort of thing I was trying to get at with this graphic from 3 years ago:
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Like a mechanic...

 

Please don’t misunderstand me, the human mind is far beyond the complexity of an engine. But I still think that there will be more tools & technologies developed that will help the teachers/professors in their efforts to guide students into the knowledge of a discipline.

I beseech the corporate world to get involved more here — and not with the end goal of earning profits — but rather, with the aim of making the world a better place and giving a huge gift to the generations yet born. 

I urge the corporate world to reach into their deep pockets (1.X trillion in cash at this point in time) and team up with our youth/teachers/professors/instructional designers/programmers/etc. to develop sophisticated, educationally-related, engaging games that are relevant to the world that our youth will be growing up in; and/or create interactive simulations that provide more choice/more control to the learners. 

I urge more of the corporate world to join Knewton and Pearson and allocate some significant resources to help develop the next gen learning tools.  I’ll bet that we’ll be amazed at what can be produced! Your daughters, sons, granddaughters, and grandsons will really appreciate the work that you did for them!!!

 

 

From the January/February 2013 issue of The American Interest:

 

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Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The most important part of the college bubble story—the one we will soon be hearing much more about—concerns the impending financial collapse of numerous private colleges and universities and the likely shrinkage of many public ones. And when that bubble bursts, it will end a system of higher education that, for all of its history, has been steeped in a culture of exclusivity*. Then we’ll see the birth of something entirely new as we accept one central and unavoidable fact: The college classroom is about to go virtual.

Because recent history shows us that the internet is a great destroyer of any traditional business that relies on the sale of information. The internet destroyed the livelihoods of traditional stock brokers and bonds salesmen by throwing open to everyone access to the proprietary information they used to sell. The same technology enabled bankers and financiers to develop new products and methods, but, as it turned out, the experience necessary to manage it all did not keep up. Prior to the Wall Street meltdown, it seemed absurd to think that storied financial institutions like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers could disappear seemingly overnight. Until it happened, almost no one believed such a thing was possible. Well, get ready to see the same thing happen to a university near you, and not for entirely dissimilar reasons.

The higher-ed business is in for a lot of pain as a new era of creative destruction produces a merciless shakeout of those institutions that adapt and prosper from those that stall and die.

But what happens when a limited supply of a sought-after commodity suddenly becomes unlimited? Prices fall. Yet here, on the cusp of a new era of online education, that is a financial reality that few American universities are prepared to face.

Anyone who can access the internet—at a public library, for instance—no matter how poor or disadvantaged or isolated or uneducated he or she may be, can access the teachings of some of the greatest scholars of our time through open course portals. Technology is a great equalizer.

Big changes are coming, and old attitudes and business models are set to collapse as new ones rise. Few who will be affected by the changes ahead are aware of what’s coming. Severe financial contraction in the higher-ed industry is on the way, and for many this will spell hard times both financially and personally. But if our goal is educating as many students as possible, as well as possible, as affordably as possible, then the end of the university as we know it is nothing to fear. Indeed, it’s something to celebrate.

 

 


* The old way:

Colleges rise as they reject — from online.wsj.com
Schools invite more applications, then use denials to boost coveted rankings


 

 

Daniel S. Christian - Think Virtual -- April 2012

 

Also relevant/see:

Apple TV and the transformation of web apps into tablet and TV dual screen apps — from brightcove.com by Jeremy Allaire

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Excerpts:

Importantly, designers and developers need to shed the concept that “TVs” are for rendering video, and instead think about “TVs” as large monitors on which they can render applications, content and interactivity that is supported by a touch-based tablet application.

The key concept here is that this pervasive adoption of TV monitors is the tip of the spear in creating a social computing surface in the real world.

Specifically, Apple has provided the backbone for dual screen apps, enabling:

  • Any iOS device (and OSX Mountain Lion-enabled PCs) to broadcast its screen onto a TV. Think of this as essentially a wireless HDMI output to a TV. If you haven’t played with AirPlay mirroring features in iOS and Apple TV, give it a spin, it’s a really exciting development.
  • A set of APIs and an event model for enabling applications to become “dual screen aware” (e.g. to know when a device has a TV screen it can connect to, and to handle rendering information, data and content onto both the touch screen and the TV screen).


[Jeremy listed several applications for these concepts:  Buying a house, buying a car, doctor’s office, kids edutainment, the classroom, retail electronics store, consuming news, consuming video, sales reporting, board games.]

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Also see:

 
From DSC:
Graphically speaking — and approaching this from an educational/learning ecosystems standpoint — I call this, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.

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The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 

Learning from the living room -- a component of our future learning ecosystems -- by Daniel S. Christian, June 2012

 

 

Related item:

zspace.com - zSpace is a revolutionary, immersive, interactive 3D environment for computing, creating, communication and entertainment.

 

Just look at the markets for their products:

  • CAD/CAM/CAE
  • Data Visualization
  • Education, Training & Simulation
  • Architecture, Engineering & the Geospatial Markets
  • Medicine & Science
  • Digital Arts & VFX
  • Gaming & Entertainment

 

Also see:

 

About

In each game episode, you play as Dak, Sera, and young Hystorian Riq as they travel back in time to fix one of the Great Breaks. Use your Hystorian’s Guide to discover what has gone wrong in history. Then, the story continues as you explore the open environment and play mini games such as lock picking or white-water rafting. Along the way you will also complete side quests and speak with historical characters who will aid you in — or perhaps deter you from — your quest.

The Infinity Ring game boasts an immersive open-world environment in which players are free to explore a 3-D representation of sites around the globe and throughout time. The game is available on desktop computers. Coming soon for mobile and tablet devices.

Also see:

Scholastic goes global to promote its latest transmedia epic — from digitalbookworld.com
NEW MULTI-PLATFORM TIME TRAVEL ADVENTURE SERIES
infinity ring™ LAUNCHES WITH global promotional campaign
FROM SCHOLASTIC
KIDS CAN PREVIEW THE INFINITY RING ONLINE GAME ON WWW.INFINITYRING.COM STARTING TODAY
Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, today announces a massive worldwide campaign to promote INFINITY RING™, a new multi-platform time travel adventure series for children ages 8-12, launching on August 28th simultaneously in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand with “Book 1: A Mutiny in Time” by New York Times bestselling author James Dashner.  As the pioneering force behind the groundbreaking and international bestselling The 39 Clues® series, Scholastic expands its innovative multi-platform publishing program with Infinity Ring, a fully immersive reading experience which combines books, an interactive “Hystorian’s Guide” map, and an online game experience where readers travel back in time to “fix” history.

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20 schools innovating with digital tools — from Getting Smart by Tom Vander Ark and Sarah Cargill
Excerpt:
Hans Renman in Stockholm (@tankom_hans) asked on Twitter, “Do you know any US schools that are REALLY using digital tools in an INTERESTING way for communication, marketing, or learning?” That tweet kicked off a few days of snooping around. Here is the list of 20 we came up with. We look forward to your additions!

Beyond Siri - A report regarding the future of Virtual Assistants -- from VisionMobile -- June 2012

 

Contents

  • Virtual assistants: four generations in 20 years
  • The evolving VA technology landscape
  • The VA Competitive landscape
  • VA business models: Revenue share rather than paid app downloads
  • Leaders and challengers in the VA value chain
  • Beyond Siri: What’s in store in the VA market

Behind this report

  • Lead researcher: Marlène Sellebråten
  • Project lead: Michael Vakulenko
  • Marketing lead: Matos Kapetanakis
  • Editorial: Andreas Constantinou

 

Daniel S. Christian - Think Virtual -- April 2012

 

From DSC:

  • We not only need to think about things that are physical — new buildings, classroom renovations, learning spaces, books, etc. — but we also need to think in terms of the virtual — creation of high-end, interactive, multimedia-based content; electronic communications; web-based collaboration; cloud-based storage/content systems, etc.
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  • Towards that end, I’d like to recommend the above graphic to the development offices at each university and college out there.

From DSC:
Yesterday, I introduced a vision that integrates a variety of trends and emerging technologies that I’ve been keeping an eye on.

 

Click this thumbnail image to access the larger image / vision

Today, I want to focus on what this means for jobs, employment, career development — especially as it relates to higher ed and the corporate world.

As the trends are pointing out, there will be teams of specialists — with a variety of skillsets required — and each of these team members will play a different role. Some of these positions are captured in the graphic immediately below:
(many for-profit schools already have that table set)

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Within higher ed, the extent to which this affects faculty members depends upon how these teams are formed. If faculty members don’t go along with this, institutions will likely reach out to adjunct faculty members — or contracted firms/help — to fill the gaps. Unless there are some other distinguishing factors, those institutions who don’t move towards a team-based approach will become irrelevant. It will be increasingly difficult for one person to develop the content that can compete with a team of specialists.  Also, organizations of excellence — who have higher initial development costs — will be able to spread these costs out over a global pool of students — resulting in a significantly cheaper alternative.  Organizations who don’t move in this direction may find that the pipelines coming into their institutions continue to get smaller.

There will be new jobs available — and changes to some existing jobs — as well, such as:

  • Virtual tutors
  • Virtual field trip guides (picture a person with some type of mobile device capturing a variety of places, events, talks, etc. in another country).
  • Curators
  • Technical support personnel specializing in building and supporting these platforms
  • Data analytics professionals
  • Artificial intelligence specialists
  • Specialized programmers
  • User interface designers
  • User experience designers
  • …and more

Roles may be altered for professors, teachers, and trainers. But teaching others how to discern quality information will likely continue to be important.

Employers may end up developing their own curriculum/cloud-based apps.  Apprentices, interns and prospective employees will be able to access these materials, with the understanding that they will be assessed at some point.

The web-based learner profiles will demonstrate where someone has been — and where they are currently at.

That’s it for now, but I will be jotting down further thoughts re: this vision from time to time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Geo Sim Philly -- where the virtual meets the real
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My thanks to Mr. Steven Chevalia for this resource

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Digital learning: What kids really want — from The Journal by Chris Riedel

Excerpt:

According to [Project Tomorrow CEO Julie] Evans, the data from those surveys indicated that students:

  • Have a growing interest in social-based learning;
  • Want to connect with and develop a personal network of expert resources;
  • Are looking for tools that increase untethered learning; and
  • Want a digitally rich learning environment, unencumbered by traditional rules.

Also:

Other things students at all grade levels are looking for include access to online tutoring, the ability to take online classes, access to real-word data and databases, greater access to teachers using SMS/text messaging, education-based virtual reality and games, and increased access to digital collaboration tools.

Augmented Reality Check - from Michael Liebhold - Nov 2011

 

Excerpt:

A REVOLUTION IN PERCEPTION is in the air, a transformation decades in the making. It will require a radical shift in viewpoint, as the way we experience data and information revolves 90 degrees from our traditional bird’s-eye view of maps, paper and screens to a more natural cinematic vision of the real world, one overlaid with digital information virtually attached to specific places.

And while augmented reality may still be in its infancy – with smartphone viewfinders displaying floating objects that are only vaguely connected to real places – don’t let that fool you.

The changes could reach far beyond mobile broadband and potentially be as profound as the development of the World Wide Web, says Michael Liebhold of the Institute for the Future. Liebhold forecasts that within five to 10 years, “the unadorned world will be history,” and our reality will have become a mix of the real and the digital. Telecom companies need to be ready, he says, to meet the demands of networks in which we are connected right before our eyes.

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