Adaptive machine learning for real-time streaming [Microsoft Research]

 

The above item is one of several items to check out at this slideshow from networkworld.com. 

Also see:

 

Addendum on 9/25/13 — with thanks to Mr. Olivier Nano (Microsoft) & Mr. Sathyan Munirathinam (Micron Technology)

The following resources are part of the overall project:

Harvard’s plan to dominate higher education — from jumpthecurve.net by Jack Uldrich

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Critics of online education and MOOCs may delude themselves by thinking  an online course can never offer the same level of intimacy or interaction as a traditional college course but they are missing a key  component of the MOOC movement: analytics.

What Harvard and other MOOC providers understand is that every time a student interacts with the material on an online course, she provides the institution feedback that allows it to learn a little more about how that student learns. Armed with this information they can then offer future courses designed not only to meet that individual’s specific educational needs but which are delivered in a manner personally tailored to his or her unique learning style.

Imagine Harvard charges a $100 accrediting fee to every student who takes one of its free courses. If one million students—students who formerly populated state universities and colleges—opt instead to take just one accredited course a year from Harvard that amounts to $100 million a year.

 

From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I think MOOCs are in an iterative process of morphing into something else, something new.  MOOCs are half-baked at this point.  I say that because it’s like drinking from a firehose (at least as of early March 2013).  But what Jack Uldrich points out is what I was trying to get at in the graphic below.  That is, if technologies that can capture, filter, curate, provide relevant information based upon analytics, one doesn’t have to drink from a fire hose anymore…the drinking fountain now becomes a better metaphor.

 

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

 

 

On a potentially related note — and a veeeerrrryyyy interesting question asked at this article out at Chief Learning Officer:

 

Either one of these forces could create what I’ve been calling “The Forthcoming Walmart of Education(since 2008).  As Smart/Connected TVs proliferate, Apple’s developing infrastructure and ecosystem could easily fill the bill.

 

The Professors’ Big Stage — op-ed from the New York Times by Thomas Friedman

Excerpt:

I just spent the last two days at a great conference convened by M.I.T. and Harvard on “Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education” — a k a “How can colleges charge $50,000 a year if my kid can learn it all free from massive open online courses?”

In Cisco’s classroom of the future, your professor is just an illusion — from fastcoexist.com by Ariel Schwartz
New telepresence software could let you take a class from anywhere and appear as if you’re in the classroom.

 

Apple University hires another high-profile academic — from by Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Berkeley’s Morten Hansen, co-author of Jim Collins’ latest bestseller, joined in January

Excerpt:

FORTUNE — Apple University has always been something of a stealth operation. It was created as a kind of in-house MBA program by Steve Jobs, a self-taught business leader who made no secret of his distaste for conventional MBAs.

“We do want to create our own MBAs,” Jobs once said. “But in our own image.”

The idea was to somehow transfer to future generations of Apple (AAPL) executives the hard lessons he learned when he founded the company, lost the company, and brought it back to life.

He started big.

.

From DSC:
Again, this brings me back to the questions/thoughts:

  • If higher ed doesn’t address its shortcomings — at least in the eyes/perspectives of employers — will corporations take matters into their own hands? Will they create their own internal universities? Perhaps in the form of MOOCs…?
  • Alternatively, they might say, “Here’s $___; we’d like to have you go through this [digital] playlist of items, then come back and show me what you can do. Then, if appropriate,  let’s talk.”

Perhaps Apple is developing their own expertise on how all this runs…? Perhaps they are a piece of what I call “The Walmart of Education”  — a piece of more peoples’ learning ecosystems.

 

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.

 

.

 

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.

 

College branding: The tipping point — from forbes.com by Roger Dooley

Excerpt:

Change is coming to this market. While there are multiple issues of increasing importance to schools, two stand out as major game-changers.

 


From DSC:
Important notes for the boards throughout higher education to consider:


Your institution can’t increase tuition by one dime next year. If you do, you will become more and more vulnerable to being disrupted. Instead, work very hard to go in the exact opposite direction. Find ways to discount tuition by 50% or more — that is, if you want to stay in business.

Sounds like the scene in Apollo 13, doesn’t it? It is. (i.e. as Tom Hanks character is trying to get back to Earth and has very little to do it with. The engineers back in the United States are called upon to “do the impossible.”)

Some possibilities:

  • Pick your business partners and begin pooling resources and forming stronger consortia. Aim to reduce operating expenses, share the production of high-quality/interactive online courses, and create new streams of income. Experimentation will be key.
  • Work with IBM, Apple, Knewton and the like to create/integrate artificial intelligence into your LMS/CMS in order to handle 80% of the questions/learning issues. (Most likely, the future of MOOCs involves this very sort of thing.)
  • Find ways to create shorter courses/modules and offer them via online-based exchanges/marketplaces.  But something’s bothering me with this one..perhaps we won’t have the time to develop high-quality, interactive, multimedia-based courses…are things moving too fast?
  • Find ways to develop and offer subscription-based streams of content


 

Curbing the cost of college: Coursera wins approval to offer online courses for credit for under $200 — from techcrunch.com by Rip Empson

Excerpt:

Up until now, the startup has not offered degrees or credits for its online classes, which has meant that Coursera classes have existed mostly as a way to pursue supplementary or continuing education — not as part of degree programs. But that changed today, as Coursera announced [last Thursday morning] that five of its courses have been approved for “credit equivalency” by the American Council on Education (ACE). This means that students who complete these five courses can receive college transfer credit at institutions that accept ACE recommendations.

So, importantly, Coursera’s new credit equivalency doesn’t automatically mean that every university it has partnered with automatically guarantees credit for the approved courses; instead, institutions have the option to accept or decline credit. In other words, it’s up to them.

Also see:

Creative learning on mass, or the MIT MOOC– from daveswhiteboard.com by Dave Ferguson

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Just this morning, I came across MIT Media Lab’s announcement for its Learning Creative Learning online course. You can read about it or skim the outline to make your own judgment; I’m enjoying the laid-back description, which tracks with my previous massive open online course experience:

  • “This is a big experiment. Things will break. We don’t have all the answer.”
  • “We hope that participants will jump in as collaborators rather than passive recipients.”
  • “Check out our shiny new platform. Actually, don’t, because we didn’t build a shiny new platform.”

Pressure mounts as MOOCs force higher ed to rethink — from centerdigitaled.com by Tanya Roscorla

Excerpt:

As massively open online courses continue to gain traction, they’re proving a disruptive force in higher education.

The traditional emphasis on in-person classes has brought universities to a price point that does not look sustainable, said Adrian Sannier, senior vice president of product for Pearson eCollege.

“Maybe for the first time in a really long time, higher ed is under a tremendous amount of external scrutiny,” said Sannier, the former vice president and university technology officer at Arizona State University. “There is growing awareness that the prices charged and the rate at which the prices are growing is simply unsustainable.”

 

Also relevant/see:

  • Minding the money — from insidehighered.com by Allie Grasgreen
    One might hope that the economic recession, which formally ended in 2009, is no longer inhibiting students’ educational pursuits — or, perhaps more realistically, not as much. But an annual survey of freshmen suggests precisely the opposite: more students than ever (66.6 percent) say America’s economic condition significantly affected their choice of college — so the recession’s residual effects, at least, linger on.

 

MOOCs for credit — from insidehighered.com by Scott Jaschik

Excerpt:

Two announcements this week suggest that MOOCs — massive open online courses — will increasingly include a route for students to receive academic credit.

Georgia State University announced Tuesday that it will start to review MOOCs for credit much like it reviews courses students have taken at other institutions, or exams they have taken to demonstrate competency in certain areas.

And Academic Partnerships, a company that works with public universities to put their degree programs online, announced an effort in which the first course of these programs can become a MOOC, with full credit awarded to those who successfully complete the course. The educational idea is that this offering will encourage more students to start degree programs. The financial idea is that the tuition revenue gained by participating institutions when students move from the MOOC to the rest of the program (which will continue to charge tuition) will offset the additional costs of offering the first course free.

 

From DSC:
I think MOOCs still need some work, but they tap into a blend of formal/structured learning and informal/unstructured learning that is attractive to many — not to mention that MOOCs offer people more choice/more control, chances for contribution and participation, greater ownership of the learning, and much lower costs.  As such, they continue to be a valuable experiment within higher education. They continue to usher in the era of what I call “The Walmart of Education”. They also provide students with a way to see if they are interested in a discipline without having to invest much $$ in the course(s).

Also see:

  • Free online college courses take big step forward — from forbes.com by Susan Adams
    Excerpt:
    Free online college classes known as “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, have made another big stride toward changing the model for higher education. Dozens of public universities are planning to offer introductory MOOCs for credit to anyone with an internet connection around the world, according to a piece today in The New York Times. The universities, including Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Arkansas system, are hoping that students who pass the free MOOCs will then enroll in the schools and pay tuition to earn a degree.

SanJoseStatePlus-UdacityPartnership-Jan2013

 

Also see:

Excerpt:

Today Udacity is thrilled to announce a partnership with San Jose State University to pilot three courses — Entry-Level Mathematics, College Algebra, and Elementary Statistics — available online at an affordable tuition rate and for college credit. To my knowledge, this is the first time a MOOC has been offered for credit and purely online. Much credit for this partnership goes to Mo Qayoumi and Ellen Junn, president and provost of SJSU, and to the five fearless SJSU professors who have chosen to work with us at Udacity to explore this new medium. The offices of Governor Brown and CSU Chancellor White have also been critically important to this partnership for their leadership and expediency. Last but not least, I want to personally thank our great Udacians who, like everyone on this list, have worked endless hours to drive innovation.
Over the past year, MOOCs have received a lot of attention in the media and education circles mostly because so many students are taking advantage of the course for free. Predictions that MOOCs would fundamentally change higher education often revolved around the fact that the courses have unprecedented reach and affordability.

 

From DSC:
Given that such “Walmarts of Education” (i.e. solid learning at a greatly reduced prices) continue to develop, what’s our/your plans for responding to this trend? How are we/you going to compete?  What’s our/your vision and strategy?  By the way, you can look all you want to for data — but at the end of the day, it’s likely with this sort of thing that you won’t find all of the data that you require to make a decision. Examples:

  • When I began working for Kraft Foods in 1990 (brought in to roll out email to 66 plants at the time), I believed in the power of email when few others did. Email was viewed as “fluff” and it would never be used for solid business practices; management put the project on hold. But I kept working with email at Kraft — trying to get others to use it. If you looked for data back then, you wouldn’t find it. But by the time I left Kraft in 1997, thousands of people could communicate with thousands of other people throughout the world — within minutes.
    .
  • When Alexander Graham Bell introduced the telephone, what data would support the success of his invention?  I suppose you could have pulled some data on the usage of the telegraph, but even then, vision would have had to trump the data (the ancestor of Western Union rejected his invention, as they questioned why anyone would need/use a telephone when there was already the telegraph in usage).
    .
  • Such technological developments often are not so easy to back up with data; they require some vision, experimentation, and risk taking.

 

Colleges lose pricing power — from the WSJ by Michael Corkery

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The demand for four-year college degrees is softening, the result of a perfect storm of economic and demographic forces that is sapping pricing power at a growing number of U.S. colleges and universities, according to a new survey by Moody’s Investors Service.

Facing stagnant family income, shaky job prospects for graduates and a smaller pool of high-school graduates, more schools are reining in tuition increases and giving out larger scholarships to attract students, Moody’s concluded in a report set to be released Thursday.

.

From DSC:
To me, this is just another way of saying the higher education bubble is popping.  I think the bubble may pop at different times for different institutions, but the overall picture is clear: Higher ed will either reinvent itself — and hopefully quickly — or it will lose a portion of its relevance and place in society (how much is ultimately lost depends upon how much higher ed can experiment, innovate, and reinvent itself).

Also relevant here:

 

Federal report highlights the economic case for higher education — from educause.edu by Jaret Cummings

Excerpt:

The U.S. Departments of The Treasury and Education recently announced the release of a joint report highlighting the economic value of higher education achievement for individuals and the country as a whole. Entitled The Economics of Higher Education, the report confirms the continuing importance of postsecondary success to economic progress, including key findings such as the following…

From DSC:
Much of this is great — no doubt about it!  Now, the question is, how do we make higher education more accessible/affordable yet still maintain the quality? Along these lines, see:

After housing and the stock market, is higher education the next bubble to burst? — from forbes.com by Avi Dan

Excerpt:

Few industries today have a worse business model than higher learning institutions.

Simply put, colleges are slowly pricing themselves out of existence. Tuition has consistently increased faster than inflation and household income, to the point that it is now four times more expensive to attend college than it was a generation ago. The result is that the average college senior carries $25,000 in student loans at graduations. The debt can follow students around for years, sometimes to the end of time, literally: $36 billion in loan debt is held by people over 60-years old!

 

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