TCC 2018: Call for Participation

Join us!
TCC 2018 Worldwide Online Conference
~Navigating the Digital Landscape~
April 17-19.
http://tcconlineconference.org/

Enjoy keynote and special regional sessions by:

  • Dr. Margaret Nosek, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA
  • Dr. Weriquan Lu, National University , Singapore
  • Dr. Jason Lee, Daegu National University of Education, Korea
  • Mark Curcher, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • Dr. Susan Manning, Credly, USA

TCC is a three-day, entirely online conference for post-secondary faculty and staff worldwide with over 100 sessions that cover a wide-range of topics related to distance learning and emerging technologies for teaching and learning.   Continue reading

Social Media Fuels Hawaii Student Walkout: March 14

By Jim Shimabukuro
Editor

In conjunction with the national 17-minute school walkout on 14 March 2018 in honor of the 17 shooting victims at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, students in Hawaii planned and executed a state-wide protest for greater gun control. Their media of choice were Twitter — #neveragainhi, #EnoughIsEnoughHI, #MarchforOurLivesHI — and Instagram.

Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Joshua Wong

Socal media in the hands of students is a powerful tool for reform. Joshua Wong Chi-fung (黃之鋒), a Hong Kong high school student in 2011, organized and led protests against government interference in determining school curricula. He and his fellow protesters relied on social media to coordinate and monitor protests in other locations.

The implication for educators is enormous. Publishing is no longer the sole possession of powerful media organizations in the private and public sector. It is in the hands of the people, and the most active users of social media are the young, for whom backchannel communications are increasingly defining what’s real and fake. The question for educators is: How will we integrate social media into our curricula to align instruction with a world that no longer turns solely on traditional media?   Continue reading

Institutional Initiatives in Digital Credentials

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As a prelude to this year’s main conference, TCC 2018 is hosting a FREE special webinar featuring Brenda Perea, Director of Educational and Workforce Solutions (Credly).

Brenda Perea will explain best practices from Colorado Community Colleges System’s initial launch of digital credentials in a free Technical Math for Industry.  Attendees will learn how 2-year and 4-year institutions can partner with employers to integrate digital credentials into existing curricula and build digital credentials into new courses and programs.

Date & time
Wednesday, March 21, 1400 HAST
1900 CDT, 2000 EDT; Thu Mar 22, 0900 Tokyo, Seoul
(Other timezones)

RSVP now for this FREE session! Access information and a reminder will be sent to you a few days prior to this event. This online session will be held in Adobe Connect. The deadline to register is March 18More info for this event.

REGISTER also for the main conference: TCC 2018 Online Conference, 23rd edition, April 17-19, 2018.

Impact of Different Social Media on cMOOCs

By Jim Shimabukuro
Editor

A couple days ago, I received an email from Bert Kimura about the latest issue of International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Feb. 2018 (19:1). He knows that I’d find the articles on MOOCs interesting. In this post, I’ll be focusing on the first, by Zhijun Wang, Terry Anderson, and Li Chen, “How Learners Participate in Connectivist Learning: An Analysis of the Interaction Traces From a cMOOC.”

This article is noteworthy for a number of reasons, not least of which is the publication medium, IRRODL. It’s online and open access. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this article is its data source: a 2011 course, Change 11 MOOC. Permission was granted by one of the facilitators, George Siemens. According to the authors, Wang et al., “When participants registered into the Change 11 MOOC, they signed an agreement that permitted the use of their data for research purposes…. All of data can be accessed without passwords in the internet.” Siemens and colleagues were modeling a precedent that facilitates research in online learning.

Wang et al. begin with a definition of cMOOC. This is a critical distinction because, theoretically, xMOOCs aren’t MOOCs. MOOC, as originally conceptualized by Siemens and Stephen Downes, is connectivist, i.e., “learning is a connection-building and network-forming process” (Wang et al.). Downes created the cMOOC-xMOOC dichotomy to highlight the cMOOC emphasis on connectivism, which places the bulk of responsibility for learning in the hands of the learners.   Continue reading

To Code or Not to Code

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In Do Our Kids Really Need to Learn How to Code? (Forbes, 7/6/14), Greg Satell disagrees with tech columnist Kevin Maney’s assertion that in just a few years, young people “will find that coding skills are about as valuable as cursive handwriting.” Satell argues that even if coding as we know it today doesn’t exist, the skills needed to do it will still be there. “There is an underlying logic to the digital world and we must be capable of operating within that logic in order to function in it.”

In Do Your Kids Need to Learn to Code? Yes! But Not for the Reasons You Think (The Huffington Post, 5/29/2015), Grant Hosford discusses several points about coding that illustrate a parent’s concern about what children need to learn to have successful futures. First, he points out that many parents and teachers worry that coding is “an overhyped fad.” He doesn’t believe it is. However, he points out that computer science pedagogy has not really evolved much in 40 years. He then refers to research at MIT and Tufts supporting the idea that “kids as young as 4 years old can learn very sophisticated computer science concepts.” Hosford sees coding as a way for young people to develop critical thinking skills, creative problem solving, and “how to be lifelong learners.”

In Please Don’t Learn to Code (TechCrunch, 5/10/16), Basel Farag claims that treating coding as “a ticket to economic salvation for the masses is dishonest.” He supports his position with three arguments. (1) Focusing on coding can cause the focus to be on finding a ‘right’ answer and away from “the importance of understanding the problem” itself. (2) Because technology changes so quickly, developing can be frustrating and stressful. Developers can’t expect to spend the rest of their careers working with one type of code. They often have to learn new versions or, even, new coding systems entirely, quickly, often “with little guidance.” (3) Getting a really well-paying job as a developer isn’t that easy.

Education Today — The Most Important Function of Governments, Part 1 of 2

Judith McDanielBy Judith McDaniel

Education is the foundation of democracy. As a society, we Americans knew that once. A unanimous Supreme Court decision in the 1953 Brown v Board of Education said: “Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities…. It is the very foundation of good citizenship.”

Today, we have lost that recognition, lost our certainty that education is a common good that we can all support. A 2017 Gallup poll found that only 36% of Americans have confidence in our public schools. And that is an increase of 10% since 2014. “Government schools” is what some conservatives, like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s husband and President Trump, call public schools now.

Where has our common understanding of public education as the foundation of democracy gone? Why have we lost it?

Undermining public education has been a deliberate campaign, not an accident. It’s not as though we just didn’t have enough money to educate all of our children for the common good. When money was short, whether because of recession or other economic events, we chose to lower funds for education. And when there was money available again, we did not raise support for education.

It would be one thing if there were a public discussion about curricula for our schools and universities, if choices about educational directions were being openly advertised and discussed and chosen. This is not what is happening.  Continue reading

Stackable Credential Courses Are Not MOOCed

Waves are flat today on the East Coast. According to Jeffrey R. Young, edX, founded by MIT and Harvard, is planning to offer a MicroBachelors program as a logical complement to their MicroMasters.1 Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, got it almost right when he said, “Education in five to ten years will become modular, will become omnichannel, and will become lifelong…. Modular is good because it can create new efficiencies and new scaling.”

Where he falls short is in the “omnichannel,” which boils down to required on-campus, F2F attendance. In this bait ‘n’ switch business model, the fully online options are teasers, the wide open end of a funnel that narrows to a tiny trickle at the campus end. Agarwal says, “The idea behind both MicroMasters and MicroBachelors is that they are ‘about putting stuff that can be done online, online.’” The assumption is that online is still a second-rate channel, incapable of delivering the right stuff.

Anant Agarwal, George Siemens, and Stephen Downes.

Young compares this “‘stackable’ credential” program to Arizona State University’s Global Freshman Academy, a joint venture with edX. He describes it as an “attempt to rebrand a concept that was once known as MOOCs, or massive open online courses.” By their own admission, GFA hasn’t been very successful. From the standpoint of these stackable programs, MOOCs are dead.  Continue reading