China is about to regulate AI—and the world is watching — from wired.com by Jennifer Conrad
Sweeping rules will cover algorithms that set prices, control search results, recommend videos, and filter content.

Excerpt:

Some provisions aim to address complaints about online services. Under the rules, for instance, companies will be prohibited from using personal characteristics to offer users different prices for a product; they also will be required to notify users, and allow them to opt out, when algorithms are used to make recommendations.

Companies that violate the rules could face fines, be barred from enrolling new users, have their business licenses pulled, or see their websites or apps shut down.

Some elements of the new regulations may prove difficult or impossible to enforce. It can be technically challenging to police the behavior of an algorithm that is continually changing due to new input, for instance.

 

Coursera launches skills training academy for colleges and companies — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Experts say the move could help the company strengthen its focus on selling courses to colleges rather than consumers.

Excerpts:

Coursera, like other popular MOOC platforms, has made its name by bringing online classes to the masses. But lately, the company has been expanding efforts to provide these offerings to colleges and employers rather than solely to consumers.

The company doubled down on that strategy Wednesday, when it announced the launch of a career training academy that enables users to earn entry-level certificates from companies like Meta and IBM in fields such as data analytics, social media marketing and user experience design. Institutions — including colleges, businesses and government organizations — can sign up to make the platform available to their students or employees.

The move signals a shift in strategy for the company. While Coursera is still focused on delivering courses directly to consumers, it’s also been building out its offerings to colleges and employers. This business segment includes Coursera for Campus, which allows colleges to use the platform’s content in their classes. 


From DSC:
For those who think MOOCs have come and gone:

Coursera has been using academic content created by universities for years to build its audience, amassing some 97 million users by the end of last year, according to its latest earnings report. 


Addendum on 5/11/22:

 

The AR Roundup: April 2022 — from linkedin.com by Tom Emrich

Excerpts:

Every month I round up what you may have missed in Augmented Reality including the latest stats, funding news and launch announcements and more. Here is what happened in augmented reality between April 1-30, 2022.

 

Can you truly own anything in the metaverse? A law professor explains how blockchains and NFTs don’t protect virtual property — from theconversation.com by João Marinotti

Excerpt:

Despite these claims, the legal status of virtual “owners” is significantly more complicated. In fact, the current ownership of metaverse assets is not governed by property law at all, but rather by contract law. As a legal scholar who studies property law, tech policy and legal ownership, I believe that what many companies are calling “ownership” in the metaverse is not the same as ownership in the physical world, and consumers are at risk of being swindled.

 

Innovative and practical applications of the metaverse — from mckinsey.com

In this episode of the At the Edge podcast, McKinsey expert Richard Ward speaks with McKinsey’s Mina Alaghband.

Excerpts:

One of the things that we’ve learned during the pandemic is that if you put these metaverse design rooms up on the internet, your clients and other expert engineers can log in remotely, and the experience takes on the quality of Zoom in 3-D, which allows a new level of engineering to happen. The beauty of it is that people are able to do highly productive engineering design work without getting on an airplane. And that has a lot of rollover value for what we’re doing long term.

One of the great lessons we’ve had from the pandemic, as horrible as it’s been, is that things that people had said were impossible for decades are now possible. Like the idea that you can’t possibly have everybody not be in the office—it’s been proven wrong.

Also relevant/see:

 

What Does “Learner-Centered” Higher Ed Really Look Like? Insights from Leaders at SXSW EDU — from wgulabs.org by Nicole Barbaro

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

What does the future of higher ed look like? Leaders from across the education sector dove deep into this question at the annual SXSW EDU conference that was held in Austin, Texas [last] month. During his keynote session, US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, echoed the need for transformation by stating, “We’re closer to a reset in education than ever before. Let’s not build back something that wasn’t working for everyone.” 

So, how should higher ed build back?

As a “learner-centered” ecosystem. Leaders across education agree that we must put students at the center of our design. But what does it look like in practice to be learner-centered? 

A learner-centered future breaks down institutional silos and works in networks to innovate and support students. And with the ubiquity of online learning in today’s higher ed ecosystem, there’s no reason not to collaborate. “There is no possible future in which online education is not an integral part of higher ed.” affirmed Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, Bridget Burns during a panel discussion at SXSW EDU.

 

Groups call for college trustees to learn more about accreditation — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
“Board members lack a solid understanding of what accreditation is,” says a report issued by AGB and CHEA in the face of stress on the system.

Excerpts:

Much has changed since 2009, the report says, as colleges now face heightened problems stemming from declining enrollment, constrained state funding and sometimes shaky finances.

Institutions also face challenges that don’t show up on balance sheets: pandemic-related stresses, remote instruction, public skepticism, threats to freedom of speech, tensions over diversity, equity and inclusion — and external influences.

Many of the people who sit on colleges’ governing boards are not from the academy and might not be familiar with processes like accreditation, said Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, CHEA’s president.

“It’s about trust,” Stoever said. “What accreditation is intended to do, it’s not only around academic quality and financial integrity, but trust — public trust that these institutions of higher education are trustworthy.”

From DSC:
But maybe that’s part of the problem institutions of higher education face today. They’ve lost the trust of the public. When faculty teach what they want to teach — and presidents, deans, faculty councils, trustees, boards, etc. allow that to occur — then students graduate without the skills and knowledge that the workplace is hiring for. By the way, I realize that’s too general and not true in many cases. I still believe that the liberal arts are very important — and the communications skills and the ability to reason, think critically, etc. will likely always be important and beneficial (regardless of the job). 

But when you are a student who has gone to school for 4-6+ years, you finally graduate, and then you find out that you don’t have the skills or knowledge that the employers are hiring for, that will likely impact one’s trust level in one’s alma mater as well as in higher education in general. When you graduate with a gorilla of debt on your back, that may also impact your trust levels (though it may not in some cases).

 

Now we just need a “Likewise TV” for learning-related resources! [Christian]

Likewise TV Brings Curation to Streaming — from lifewire.com by Cesar Aroldo-Cadenas
And it’s available on iOS, Android, and some smart TVs

All your streaming services in one place. One search. One watchlist. Socially powered recommendations.

Entertainment startup Likewise has launched a new recommendations hub that pulls from all the different streaming platforms to give you personalized picks.

Likewise TV is a streaming hub powered by machine learning, people from the Likewise community, and other streaming services. The service aims to do away with mindlessly scrolling through a menu, looking for something to watch, or jumping from one app to another by providing a single location for recommendations.

Note that Likewise TV is purely an aggregator.


Also see:

Likewise TV -- All your streaming services in one place. One search. One watchlist. Socially powered recommendations.

 


From DSC:
Now we need this type of AI-based recommendation engine, aggregator, and service for learning-related resources!

I realize that we have a long ways to go here — as a friend/former colleague of mine just reminded me that these recommendation engines often miss the mark. I’m just hoping that a recommendation engine like this could ingest our cloud-based learner profiles and our current goals and then present some promising learning-related possibilities for us. Especially if the following graphic is or will be the case in the future:


Learning from the living class room


Also relevant/see:

From DSC:
Some interesting/noteworthy features:

  • “The 32- inch display has Wi-Fi capabilities to supports multiple streaming services, can stream smartphone content, and comes with a removable SlimFit Cam.”
  • The M8 has Wi-Fi connectivity for its native streaming apps so you won’t have to connect to a computer to watch something on Netflix. And its Far Field Voice mic can be used w/ the Always On feature to control devices like Amazon Alexa with your voice, even if the monitor is off.
  • “You can also connect devices to the monitor via the SmartThings Hub, which can be tracked with the official SmartThings app.”

I wonder how what we call the TV (or television) will continue to morph in the future.


Addendum on 3/31/22 from DSC:
Perhaps people will co-create their learning playlists…as is now possible with Spotify’s “Blend” feature:

Today’s Blend update allows you to share your personal Spotify playlists with your entire group chat—up to 10 users. You can manually invite these friends and family members to join you from in the app, then Spotify will create a playlist for you all to listen to using a mixture of everyone’s music preferences. Spotify will also create a special share card that everyone in the group can use to save and share the created playlist in the future.


 

The Conversation: Twitter Trends 2022 -- from marketing.twitter.com

The Conversation: Twitter Trends 2022 — from marketing.twitter.com

Excerpt:

Billions of Tweets reveal tomorrow’s big movements. 

The biggest movements start quietly. An idea becomes conversation becomes a seismic cultural shift. And if you want in on what’s next, listen to what people on Twitter are saying right now. 

To help you out, we analyzed1 billions of Tweets over a two-year period to find three must-know trends about to go big. From The Great Restoration to Fan-Built Worlds to Finance Goes Social, the talk on Twitter reveals the underlying shifts in power shaping where the world is going. 

 

Accelerated Digital Skills and the ‘Bootcamp Boom’. — from holoniq.com
The market for accelerated digital skills is stepping up to a whole new level. Bootcamps, among others, are evolving rapidly to meet the opportunity.

Excerpt:

Tech Bootcamps re-skilled and up-skilled over 100,000 professionals globally in 2021, up from less than 20,000 in 2015. We expect this number to reach over 380,000 by 2025 representing over $3B of expenditure with significant upside as tech up-skilling models and modes overlap and converge. Governments, employers, universities and colleges everywhere are embracing rapid, high ROI training to build capacity in software, marketing, cyber and tech sales to drive their economies and growth.

Also from holoniq.com, see:

Also relevant/see:

 

22 Augmented Reality Trends to Keep an Eye on for 2022 — from linkedin.com by Tom Emrich

Excerpts:

#1 Metaverse remains at peak hype as the next iteration of the Internet feels so close but is actually much further away

#2 The smartphone continues to become an even more powerful augmented reality machine with advancements in chips, displays and connectivity

#3 Early consumer smartglasses reinforce the need for smartphones rather than attempt to replace them

The metaverse is defined differently by different people but for me, the metaverse is an aha moment. It is a realization by industry that the next wave of computing is comprised of a stack of emerging technologies (including blockchain, AI, IoT, AR and VR) that will all work together to create a fundamental shift in our relationship with technology. 

 



Also see:

 

The Metaverse And The Practice Of Law — from abovethelaw.com by Ken Crutchfield
While early, there is tremendous promise and opportunity for legal professionals as new types of issues surface in the virtual world.

Excerpt:

Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement to build Meta — the seventh-largest market cap company in the world — is yet another indicator of the increasing influence that the virtual world is having on our society. From online gaming to digital currencies and everything in between, the rising prevalence of the Metaverse represents new frontiers for how individuals, organizations, and businesses can interact with each other — and that also means new issues and challenges for legal professionals to tackle.

 

What Could Web3 Mean for Education? — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

It’s an ecosystem that could transform schools—sites for teaching and learning—into marketplaces—sites for buying and selling.

That includes higher education. In the vein of MOOC platforms, Web3 systems could make it easier to “unbundle” college courses from degree programs and universities, enabling individuals to sign up for whatever classes they want and instructors to market their courses to consumers directly, says Vriti Saraf, a former charter school teacher and administrator and Teach for America alumna who founded a startup called k20 Educators.

 

From the Paul Weiss Law Firm — back from 2019: A whitepaper re: cryptocurrency

Excerpt:

The development and growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has implications for many industries, including finance, media, and healthcare. In a series of papers, we will discuss the variety of ways in which cryptocurrencies and blockchains are being used in different fields. This paper, the first in our series of three papers, discusses cryptocurrencies, including how they operate in conjunction with the blockchain and how Bitcoin, the first major cryptocurrency, compares to traditional, fiat currencies.

Cash vs Bitcoin -- a comparison

From DSC:
How might the development of cryptocurrencies integrate in with a next-gen learning platform? Would teams and/or individuals get paid via a cryptocurrency? Hmmm…more learning to do.

It’s interesting to note what Bitcoin (BTC-USD) was trading at in 2017, 2018, and 2019 versus today:

  • In 2017 alone, Bitcoin’s price rose from $973 in January to $5,856 in October, and skyrocketed towards $20,000 by year end.
  • By February 2018, however, Bitcoin had fallen below $7,600.
  • In June 2019, Bitcoin’s price rose to approximately $10,000.

Today:

The huge price increase of Bitcoin -- BTC-USD -- in the last three years

Here’s what some of the other cryptocurrencies were trading at today:

 

Why Aren’t Professors Taught to Teach? — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Professors are experts in their subject matters but many have limited training in actually teaching their students.

Excerpt:

“A lot of faculty are just modeling their instruction after the instruction they’ve received as an undergraduate or graduate student,” says Tanya Joosten, senior scientist and director of digital learning at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the lead of the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements.

As a perpetually short-on-time adjunct professor, I understand those who worry about mandatory training and required course reviews, but Pelletier stresses that she’s advocating for a more organic shift and that a top-down approach isn’t best. “That’s not as collaborative and generative as really just embracing that we have these two different kinds of experts, one type of expert is an expert in their subject, and the other expert is an expert in teaching and learning,” she says. More attention is needed to meld these two kinds of expertise. 

From DSC:
It’s not just that colleges and universities are big business — if you have any remaining doubts about that perspective, take a moment to look at this new, interactive database to see what I mean. But it’s also that this type of business often rewards research, not teaching. And yet the students over the last several decades have continued to pay ever-increasing prices for skilled researchers, instead of increasingly skilled teachers. 

Healthcare and higher education face similar challenges and transformations -- costs continue to soar

Image from Inside Higher Ed

 

Would people put up with this with other types of purchases? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to…would you?  Would we like to pay for something that we aren’t getting — like paying for all the extra options on a new car, but not getting them?

What goes around, comes around.
But by allowing this to have occurred, a backlash against the value of higher education has been building for years now. In many learners’ minds, they are questioning whether it’s worth taking on (potentially) decades’ worth of debt. At a minimum, the higher the price of obtaining degrees and/or other credentials becomes, the less Return on Investment (ROI) is realized by the learners (i.e., the purchasers of these goods and services). So while getting a degree is often still worth it, the ROI is going down.
And this doesn’t address how relevant/up-to-date the educations are that these learners are receiving, which the employers out there will take issue with.

From an Instructional Designer’s perspective, it isn’t just time that’s the issue here. There continues to exist a tiered hierarchy within higher education. Faculty see themselves as more knowledgeable because they are teaching and because they are the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). But they are not expert teachers. Many full-time faculty members don’t listen to people who are knowledgeable in the learning science world, and they often don’t value that expertise. (This can be true of administrators as well.) But when a fellow faculty member (i.e., their “true peer” from their perspective) suggests the same idea that Instructional Designers have been recommending for years, they suddenly open their eyes and ears to see and hear this seemingly new, wonderful approach.

Some possible scenarios
Thus, a wave has been building against traditional institutions of higher education — readers of this blog will have picked up on this years ago. Once alternatives significantly hit the radar — ones that get the learners solid, good-paying jobs — there could be a mass exodus out of what we think of as traditional higher education. At least that’s one potential scenario.

For example, if a next-generation learning platform comes along that offers teams and individuals the ability to deliver lifelong learning at 50% or more off the price of an average degree, then be on the lookout for massive change. If professors and/or teams of specialists — those who are skilled in instructional design and teaching —  can go directly to their learners — it could be an interesting world indeed. (Outschool is like this, by the way.) In that scenario, below are two potential methods of providing what accreditation agencies used to provide:

  • Obtaining the skills and competencies being requested from the workplace to “pass the tests” (whatever those assessments turn out to be)
  • Voting a course up or down (i.e., providing crowd-sourced rating systems)

Other possible scenarios
Another scenario is that traditional institutions of higher education really kick their innovation efforts into high gear. They reward teaching. They develop less expensive methods of obtaining degrees. They truly begin delivering more cost-effective means of obtaining lifelong learning and development “channels” for educating people.

And there are other possible scenarios, some of which I could think of and many I would likely miss. But to even ask the solid and highly-relevant question as plainly stated in the article above — Why Aren’t Professors Taught to Teach? — that is something that must be dealt with. Those organizations that use a team-based approach are likely to be able to better answer and address that question.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian