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Dermot Foley
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.
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I attended an educational technology symposium this morning with the keynote given by Harvard University's Clayton Christensen. He raised some interesting parallels between what is going on in Higher Education with the innovation and disruption he studied in the steel industry. Not a perfect fit, but food for thought. 

Here is a link to his talk - http://new.livestream.com/colgateuniversity/innovationdisruption

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Excited about ConnectED?

I am, as I was about the couple of dozen well meaning federally funded educational technology initiatives that preceded it. Not sure many, if any, would say those past efforts succeeded.

The lingering questions remain.

A.) The technology is a means to what pedagogical and curricular ends?  Larry Cuban wrote about technocentrisim years ago and the concerns are just as valid today. 

B.) What are the means of assessment and measuring cost effectiveness for both the technology and the student/ staff training? 

C.) The training, is it more than initial PD that folks are not paid to attend? Is it going to be influenced by student knowledge and perspective?

D.) The billions being offered by companies like Microsoft and Apple are, as they were in the past, discounts on their products. Are these the best tools for the goals or is this little more than PR? Are we crafting the approach based on their products and/or are they making any modifications to meet these challenges?

Doing right for public education and getting students into a position to harness the ever growing influence of technology is an obvious priority. President Obama knows how education can radically transform lives and foster hope. I hope he gets the information and support from the field so this initiative succeeds where so many others have failed. 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12/connected

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Big Data, bigger expectations, predictable failures...

A bit of the speculation surrounding the Eric Snowden and Bradley Manning matters has furthered revealed that it is no longer limited access to data that negatively impacts analysis. To the contrary, it is too much data and developing sifting methods to sample it in a timely and meaningful fashion that is flummoxing leaders of government, education, and industry. While this may enlarge our horizon of the world, I think the hype machine today is worse than ever (e.g. MOOCs) and possibly social media is a reason why. 

In an interview on their book, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, authors Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier encapsulate a real concern that echo the lyrics of John Perry Barlow, you ain't going to learn what you don't want to know. 
 
"We are very concerned about what we call in our book 'the dark side of big data.' However the real challenge is that the problem is not necessarily where we initially tend to think it is, such as surveillance and privacy. After looking into the potential misuses of big data, we became much more troubled by 'propensity' -- that is, big data predictions being used to police and punish. And by the 'fetishization' of data that may occur, whereby organizations may blindly defer to what the data says without understanding its limitations. "(http://www.amazon.com/Big-Data-Revolution-Transform-Think/dp/0544002695/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376668263&sr=8-1&keywords=big+data)

Big data could have a big impact but only if it is used to uncover the unfathomable as opposed to reify the ideological, expect that we are going to see much more analysis based on it for both purposes. 

I wonder if the IBM curriculum people are going to take a critical perspective in developing an authentic and rigorous method of analysis. Fingers crossed.... 

http://chronicle.com/article/IBMUniversities-Team-Up/141111/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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So the same day we hear about the California MOOC bill being put on hold a massive new system-wide online initiative is announced for the CU system.

No doubt, it could assist them with over crowded facilities and help undergraduates complete their degrees sooner than the current average but it will also be interesting to see how this impacts their fiscal bottom line. Budget cuts keep coming up as the impetus for the program over the obvious pedagogical bent, that, with the status quo, students cannot take entry level courses in STEM disciplines in a timely manner (e.g. biology, physical geography, statistics, and astronomy). Such hardships may limit their choices in determining courses of study. 

 While it might lessen the number of adjuncts and other faculty hires in some departments there will be increases for IT personnel and other expenditures.

So, will those new hires emanate from within the UC system or is an outside company going to be contracted for this? If they hire outside of the UC system on a contractual basis expect a whole lot of similar sized state run systems and the unions that negotiate with them to take notice. 



http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/cal-state-offers-online-courses-across-campuses-to-ease-a-bottleneck/64289?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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Color me suspicious but it sounds like the political folks in Anaheim heard something from the Administrators at San Jose State about their little online experiment this past year and it was a bit more negative than what they told the rest of us.

Of course the defenders of these models or others can sum it up to union interference but something tells me it is more than that. 

Just as with textbooks, if you get California, Texas, or New York to institute new curriculum policies that suite your product many other states will soon follow. So, regardless of the cause, this is a set back for online education evangelists no matter how you portray it. They are going into the largest states to enact the changes, see Florida, to get the biggest return. Yet, when it does not work out as intended... 

"Legislation in California originally aimed at getting state colleges to award credit for massive open online courses and other offerings from nonuniversity providers has been shelved for at least a year."

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/california-puts-mooc-bill-on-ice/45215

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So the same day we hear about the California MOOC bill being put on hold a massive new system-wide online initiative is announced for the CU system.

No doubt, it could assist them with over crowded facilities and help undergraduates complete their degrees sooner than the current average but it will also be interesting to see how this impacts their fiscal bottom line. Budget cuts keep coming up as the impetus for the program over the obvious pedagogical bent, that, with the status quo, students cannot take entry level courses in STEM disciplines in a timely manner (e.g. biology, physical geography, statistics, and astronomy). Such hardships may limit their choices in determining courses of study. 

 While it might lessen the number of adjuncts and other faculty hires in some departments there will be increases for IT personnel and other expenditures.

So, will those new hires emanate from within the UC system or is an outside company going to be contracted for this? If they hire outside of the UC system on a contractual basis expect a whole lot of similar sized state run systems and the unions that negotiate with them to take notice. 



http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/cal-state-offers-online-courses-across-campuses-to-ease-a-bottleneck/64289?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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Color me suspicious but it sounds like the political folks in Anaheim heard something from the Administrators at San Jose State about their little online experiment this past year and it was a bit more negative than what they told the rest of us.

Of course the defenders of these models or others can sum it up to union interference but something tells me it is more than that. 

Just as with textbooks, if you get California, Texas, or New York to institute new curriculum policies that suite your product many other states will soon follow. So, regardless of the cause, this is a set back for online education evangelists no matter how you portray it. They are going into the largest states to enact the changes, see Florida, to get the biggest return. Yet, when it does not work out as intended... 

"Legislation in California originally aimed at getting state colleges to award credit for massive open online courses and other offerings from nonuniversity providers has been shelved for at least a year."

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/california-puts-mooc-bill-on-ice/45215
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