MOOC Sightings 002: Oxford Professor Declares MOOCs the Loser

MOOC Sightings2

William Whyte, professor of social and architectural history at St John’s College Oxford, assures us that in the “battle” of MOOCs vs traditional campus-based universities, “The MOOC will prove to [be] the loser.”1 He parades the usual suspects for their demise: low completion rates and absence of credits and degrees.

He tosses Britain’s E-University and Open University in with MOOCs for what amounts to a clean sweep of online programs. Two birds with one stone, as it were. He cites E-University as a costly failure and Open University as “actually a rather traditional university.” Convenient, but what these institutions have in common with MOOCs is baffling.

He bolsters his prediction with survey results: “Only 6% of prospective undergraduates surveyed last year [want] to stay at home and study. The other 94% expected and hoped to move away to a different place for their degrees.”

Whyte declares traditional universities the winner because “people want and expect something rather more than a purely virtual, entirely electronic experience of university. They expect it to be a place.”

Strong reassurance, indeed, for those who see MOOCs as “a horrible sort of inevitability.” Traditional universities have not only withstood the MOOC challenge but actually emerged stronger.  Continue reading

MOOC Sightings 001: UNC and Cornell

MOOC Sightings2

Despite wholesale announcements by powerful academic leaders throughout the U.S. that MOOCs are dead, sightings continue to pour in from around the country and the rest of the world. For skeptics, the problem is physical evidence. People can offer them and take them, but no one seems to know what a MOOC looks like. Some point to Coursera and edX, but in the opinion of most MOOC experts, who are primarily from Canada and the UK, these are hoaxes.

So, in the interest of determining once and for all whether MOOCs are fo’ real, I’ll be opening Project White Book to publish promising sightings and photos of MOOCs. In this inaugural post, I’m sharing the photo, below, of what appears to be one person’s conception of a MOOC. I recently found it in the ETC spam queue. It was posted anonymously with the header “Da MOOC!” I’ll post photos as I receive them, so if you have one, email it to me (jamess@hawaii.edu) and I’ll publish the most interesting.

Is this a MOOC, a hoax, or just another weather-related phenomenon?

Is this a MOOC, a hoax, or just another weather-related phenomenon?

I’m also sharing promising sightings by Sarah Kaylan Butler, “50,000 Enroll in UNC Online Course” (Daily Tarheel, 2/19/15), and Blaine Friedlander, “Cornell Sinks Teeth into Four New MOOCs” (Cornell Chronicle, 2/19/15).

Butler reports that “almost 50,000 students have enrolled in a massive open online course on positive psychology taught by UNC professor Barbara Fredrickson.” Evidence that this Coursera-based course might be a real MOOC is very strong. It’s six weeks long, a departure from the usual quarter or semester time frame. It’s comfortably aimed at interest rather than college credit. According to Fredrickson, “Most people that are enrolled — 95 percent of them — say that they’re interested out of their own curiosity.” And the professor is on firm MOOC footing, looking for pedagogical guidance from the future rather than the past. She says, “I’ve written a couple of books for general audience and one of the things that’s clear about our changing audience is that people don’t necessarily want to read books, but they like ideas.”

Another promising sighting is from Cornell. Friedlander reports that “Cornell will offer four new [MOOCs] in 2016: shark biodiversity and conservation, the science and politics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), an introduction to engineering simulations, and how deals get done – mergers and acquisitions principles.” They’re still in the planning stages, so I’ll keep an eye out for more details as they become available.

Are MOOCs fo’ real? In this series, I’ll be looking at the evidence through a lens that’s forged from constructivist and disruptive theory as well as a dash of whimsy. In this process, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please share them in the discussion below. If you’re logging in from an address that has been previously approved, your reply will be posted automatically. If not, your first reply will be published within 24-48 hours. Subsequent replies from your address will be published immediately.

Mars One: 100 Still in Running to Be First Humans on Mars

Amersfoort, 16th February 2015From the initial 202,586 applicants, only 100 hopefuls have been selected to proceed to the next round of the Mars One Astronaut Selection Process. These candidates are one step closer to becoming the first humans on Mars.

“The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder & CEO of Mars One. “These aspiring martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”

The Mars 100 Round Three candidates were selected from a pool of 660 candidates after participating in personal online interviews with Norbert Kraft, M.D., Chief Medical Officer. During the interviews the candidates had a chance to show their understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and their motivation to be part of this life changing expedition.

Dr. Norbert Kraft said, “We were impressed with how many strong candidates participated in the interview round, which made it a very difficult selection.”

There are 50 men and 50 women who successfully passed the second round. The candidates come from all around the world, namely 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania. The complete list of Mars One Round Three Candidates. Statistics on the candidates can be found here.

The following selection rounds will focus on composing teams that can endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars. The candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team. More information about the selection process can be found here: Mars One Selection ProcessContinue reading

Register for TCC 2015 – The Future Is Now

kimura80By Bert Kimura

Aloha,

Register for the TCC 2015 Worldwide Online Conference, The Future Is Now:

http://tcconlineconference.org/

Enjoy KEYNOTE sessions by:

  • Dr. Howard Rheingold, Author, Critic, Journalist & Educator
  • Alan Levine, Pedagogical Technologist, Architect of Open & Connected Learning
  • Dr. Stella Perez, Sr. VP Communications and Advancement, American Association of Community Colleges

This year, our 20th conference features an ONSITE option to participate in-person at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa campus. There is also an option to participate virtually ONLINE as in previous years.

For further information (including low-cost housing and an optional educational tour), see:

http://2015.tcconlineconference.org/register/

Site licenses for unlimited participation from a campus or system are available. Special rates apply to University of Hawai’i faculty and staff. For more info, contact Sharon Fowler <fowlers@hawaii.edu>.

We look forward to seeing you at TCC 2015.

Warm regards,
Bert Kimura
For the TCC Conference Team

Seed Wins the Mars One University Competition to Germinate Life on Mars in 2018

Mars One Press Release: Amersfoort, 5 Jan. 2015:

Mars One is proud to present the winner of the Mars One University Competition: Seed. The Seed team is an important step closer to sending their payload to Mars. The winning payload will fly to the surface of Mars on Mars One’s 2018 unmanned lander mission. Seed was selected by popular vote from an initial 35 university proposals and this is the first time the public has decided which payload receives the extraordinary opportunity to land on Mars.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Versteeg and Mars One.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Versteeg and Mars One.

“We were generally very pleased with the high quality of the university proposals and the amount of effort associated with preparing them,” said Arno Wielders, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Mars One. “Seed itself is uniquely inspiring since this would be the first time a plant will be grown on Mars.”

The Winning Team – Seed aims to germinate the first seed on Mars in order to contribute to the development of life support systems and provide a deeper understanding of plant growth on Mars. The payload will consist of an external container, which provides protection from the harsh environment, and interior container, which will hold several seed cassettes. The seeds will stem from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is commonly used in space plant studies. After landing, the seeds inside the cassette will be provided with conditions for germination and seedling growth. The growth will then be recorded using images transmitted back to Earth.

“We are really pleased to be the selected project among so many excellent ideas. We are thrilled to be the first to send life to Mars! This will be a great journey that we hope to share with you all!” said Teresa Araújo, Seed team member.

Seed consists of four bioengineering students from the University of Porto and two PhD students from MIT Portugal and the University of Madrid. The team is supported by Dr. Maria Helena Carvalho, plant researcher at IBMC and Dr. Jack van Loon, from the VU Medical Center, VU-University in Amsterdam, and support scientist at ESTEC-ESA. Seed benefits from scientific and technical support from several advisers, whose expertise range from biological systems to spacecraft development and validation. Read more about Seed here.

An in-depth technical analysis of the winning proposal will be conducted to ensure that the winner has a feasible plan and that their payload can be integrated on the 2018 Mars lander. Mars One and its advisers will contribute to the analysis by thoroughly and critically examining the Seed proposal.

If Seed runs into any issues regarding feasibility or can not stick to the schedule, Mars One will fall back on the runner ups of the university competition. The second and third placed projects are Cyano Knights and Lettuce on Mars.

More information

About Mars One

Mars One is a not-for-profit foundation that will establish permanent human life on Mars. Human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies. Mars One’s mission plan integrates components that are well tested and readily available from industry leaders worldwide. The first footprint on Mars and lives of the crew thereon will captivate and inspire generations. It is this public interest that will help finance this human mission to Mars.

For more information visit www.mars-one.com

Literacy, Bullying, North Korea

lynnz_col2
Literacy Through Photography for English-Language Learners by Tabitha Dell’Angelo in Edutopia (12/1/14)
The author explores the link between imagery and language and promotes a broader definition of literacy.

Digital literacy an elementary skill by Ellen Ciurczak in The Clarion-Ledger (11/30/14)
The teachers at Petal Upper Elementary School believe that you can’t start too early teaching students how to acquire a variety of skills using computers, from Internet safety to keyboarding skills.

A valuable lesson on bullying in observer-reporter.com (11/30/14)
Bullying and cyber-bullying are serious problems that many young people have to deal with.  Elissa McCracken, Miss Ohio 2012, chose cyberbullying as the issue she would focus on during her term because she was a victim of bullying herself.

North Korea’s Cyber Skills Get Attention Amid Sony Hacking Mystery by Elise Hu at NPR All Tech Considered (12/4/14)
A rather bizarre hacking story related to Sony, North Korea, and the soon-to-be released movie, The Interview.

Mars One: 10 Potential University Payloads to Mars in 2018

Photo courtesy of Bryan Versteeg and Mars One www.mars-one.com

Photo courtesy of Bryan Versteeg and Mars One.

Amersfoort,1st December 2014 – Mars One is proud to present the ten Mars One University Competition finalists eligible to fly to Mars. One of these ten payloads will receive the once in a lifetime opportunity to fly on Mars One’s first unmanned Lander mission to Mars in 2018. For the first time ever the public will be able to decide which payload receives the extraordinary opportunity to fly to Mars.

The ten remaining projects from an initial 35 submissions were submitted by diverse universities worldwide. In order to get this far, the payload proposals needed to meet all requirements as described by Mars One supplier Lockheed Martin. Mars One community members, social media followers, and the general public will have the opportunity to vote on and select the winning payload. Voting opportunities for the public will be opened in the first weeks of December, 2014. Voting submission will be accepted until December 31st, 2014.

The winning university payload will be announced on January 5th, 2015. The winning payload needs to be feasible and meet the requirements and restrictions as outlined in the Proposal Information Package (PIP) and on-going discussions with Lockheed Martin, who will build the 2018 lander. Additionally, if in any case the winning team can not perform or adjust to additional requirements the runner-up will be chosen instead.

Arno Wielders, Co-founder & CTO of Mars One said, “These ten final projects are unique and creative and we are very happy with the payload proposals these teams have presented. It would be highly interesting to see each and every one of these projects being launched to Mars. Now it is up to the public to decide which project they would like to have on Mars.”  Continue reading

TCC Worldwide Online Conference 2015: Call for Proposals

Updated 12/1/14, 12/12/14
TCC2015A
20th Annual
TCC WORLDWIDE ONLINE CONFERENCE
March 17-19, 2015

Hawaii 2-0 : The Future is Now

Submission deadline: December 15, 2014  December 23, 2014
Submission form: http://bit.ly/tcc2015-proposal
Homepage & latest updates: tcchawaii.org

CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Please consider submitting a proposal for a paper or general session relating to all aspects of educational technology, including but not limited to e-learning, open education, ICT, online communities, social media, augmented reality, educational gaming, faculty & student support, Web 2.0 tools, international education and mobile learning. We also encourage retrospective presentations, personal experiences, and forecasting the future.

FULL DETAILS
http://tcchawaii.org/call-for-proposals-2015

SUBMISSIONS
http://bit.ly/tcc2015-proposal

VENUE
For our 20th anniversary celebration, there are two options: (1) ONLINE only or (2) ONSITE. Onsite sessions will run from March 18-19 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus Center, and participants will also have access to all online sessions from March 17-19. All onsite sessions will be streamed to online participants.

For onsite participants: We’re offering an optional educational tour of Kamehameha Schools and a stopover at Kapiolani Community College for lunch and a talk at CELTT (Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Technology). We’ve also arranged for a block of low cost housing options at the East-West Center (Lincoln Hall) and at Ala Moana Hotel.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Alan Levine – cogdogblog.com
Howard Rheingold – rheingold.com

MORE INFO
Bert Kimura <bert@hawaii.edu> or Curtis Ho <curtis@hawaii.edu>

TCC Hawaii, LearningTimes, & the Learning Design and Technology Department, College of Education, UH-Manoa collaborate to produce this event. Numerous volunteer faculty and staff worldwide provide additional support.

—To join our TCCOHANA-L mailing list —
http://tcchawaii.org/tccohana-l/

U.S.-Russian Collaboration

VicSutton80By Vic Sutton

At a time when relations between the United States and Russia are cooling – if not cold – an innovative programme of the Eurasia Foundation continues to promote exchanges of professionals from both countries.

The ‘U.S.-Russia Social Expertise Exchange’ (SEE for short) was set up to promote co-operation between civil society leaders from the two countries.

Twelve working groups bring together experts in programme areas that include, for example, child protection, collaborative journalism, gender equity, and ‘rule of law and the community’.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

My wife, Bonnie Bracey Sutton, is a member of the SEE working group on ‘Education and Youth’, and I had the chance to accompany her to its last meeting, held on 10-11 October in Washington, DC.

The working group hopes to hold a research seminar in March 2015, to appoint two senior and two junior fellows from each country who will take part in exchanges through February and March 2015, and to organize a ‘Cyberfair’ to showcase its projects, perhaps in November next year.

Bonnie had a fellowship from the Eurasia Foundation, which took her to Saint Petersburg and Samara last February, and I paid my own way to travel with her.

Our greatest surprise was to discover that Russia, despite its leadership in areas like space technology, is a poor country. People take home USD 250-300 a month. Of course, prices are lower than in the U.S, so that is not so terrible in terms of purchasing power.

But we never before visited a country where just about everyone with whom we had a serious conversation wanted to know our home address (if you want to get a visa to visit the U.S. you have to supply a U.S. address).

The U.S. Government has said that despite poor political relationships, social and cultural exchanges between the two countries will continue to be funded. We hope so, and we will see what modest support we can provide to contribute to them.