In our latest episode, the penultimate in the pilot series, we explore the topics that are likely to be moving up the curve of the hype cycle this year—adaptive learning and learning analytics. Like many of the topics in the pilot series, we could have made an entire series about this one. (And maybe we will at some point.) But since the first adaptive learning product faculty will run into is most likely to be from a textbook publisher, we interviewed McGraw Hill’s Al Essa and Pearson’s Jason Jordan about their respective takes on what this trend is all about.
Here it is.
Posted in About This Site, Higher Education, Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!)
Tagged adaptive learning, Al Essa, analytics, Jason Jordan, learning analytics, McGraw Hill, Pearson-PLC
I have been invited to participate on the Digital Working Group of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U’s) General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) program. (As we will see, AAC&U loves its acronyms.) GEMs is a really interesting project made even more interesting because of who is doing it. AAC&U is a fundamentally conservative organization in the sense that their purview is to help conserve that which is valuable and distinctive about the American college education. GEMs is part of a larger alphabet soup of AAC&U initiatives that are clearly about outcomes-based education and arguably about competency-based education (CBE). (For more on the distinction between these two, see Phil’s earlier blog post on the subject.) The organization’s leadership is frank about the fact that these have been at least partly defensive moves; given all the pressure for increasing accountability, the Association felt that academics should lead the charge on defining what that should mean before others define it for them. (GEMs is the latest in a series of related efforts to that end.) But the trail they are blazing has the potential to be pretty radical. Maybe even more radical than the organization has fully come to grips with.
I’m going to be doing some of my homework for the working group here on the blog in future posts, but before I do that, I’d like to take the time in this one to outline what I understand to be the goal and context of GEMs. Fair warning: I’m not sure that my understanding is correct. I am new to AAC&U and, to be honest, they were not terribly good at articulating the goals for GEMs at the first summit. (I am not the only participant who had trouble parsing the goals and priorities.) With any luck, some AAC&U veterans will read this and correct any mistakes I make along the way.
We’ve just published our fourth episode in the e-Literate TV pilot series. This one is about CourseWare. Frequent e-Literate readers will know that this is a topic Phil and I think is important and growing in importance. You’re most likely to have heard of the products from the big publishers—Pearson’s CourseConnect, McGraw Hill’s SmartBooks, Cengage’s MindTap, and Wiley’s WileyPLUS—but there are also a lot of smaller entrants that are worth paying attention to.
For this episode, I got to interview two of my favorite people in ed tech: Soomo Publishing’s David Lindrum and Lumen Learning’s Kim Thanos. Both of these folks run small companies that are doing good and novel work with the courseware product category without having huge technology budgets or whizzy adaptive engines. And they have some really interesting things to say about how the advent courseware changes the way we have to approach the development of curricular materials.
Take a look.
We have just published our third episode in the first ETV series—an interview with Stanford University’s Amy Collier about MOOCs. As is often the case with these episode, there are lots of different angles we could have taken. This episode is really the answer to a colleague who asks, “What is this thing that Tom Friedman has been talking about?” Amy does a terrific job of delivering a hype (and anti-hype) antidote.
Take a look.
We’ll have broader coverage in the full series about MOOCs we’ll be releasing after this current one, developed from the interviews that Phil and I conducted at the MOOC Research Initiative Conference.
In late January I wrote here and here about the US Treasury Department, through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), blocking access to Coursera courses by students in Syria, Cuba, Iran and Sudan (also see Kris Olds article here and IHE article here). The reason for the decision appears to be that MOOCs were classified as educational services instead of informational materials. At the time, edX was permitted to operate in those countries based on their reliance on getting licenses approved by OFAC, whereas Coursera was relying on a broad interpretation by OFAC. edX president Anant Agarwal even posted on a blog a somewhat congratulatory note:
At edX, we are pleased to announce that no one, in any country, is blocked from taking one of our courses, and we have never blocked students from receiving education on the edX platform because of where they live.
EdX has worked for many months with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets and Control (“OFAC”) and the U.S. State Department to determine how we can assure that no one in any country is blocked from taking an edX course.
Now comes word that edX has been forced by OFAC to block access to several courses for students in Cuba, Iran and Sudan. From The Harvard Crimson late yesterday:
Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Openness
Tagged Coursera, EdX, Export control, Iran, MOOC, OFAC, Office of Foreign Assets Control, open, sanctions, State Department, Sudan, Syria, Udacity