What we’re learning from online education

Excellent conference by Daphne Koller (although 2012, a highly topical issue), from Coursera at www.TED.com that describes the advantages of online education (with subtitles in different languages).

We can identify the following sections of the video:

  • Accessibility of education worldwide
    (for instance, the cost of higher education tuition has been increasing at almost twice the rate, for a total of 559 percent since 1985. This makes education unaffordable for many people).
  • Modularity
    You can break up the material, for example, into these short, modular units of eight to 12 minutes, each of which represents a coherent concept. Students can traverse this material in different ways, depending on their background, their skills or their interests.
  • Retrieval practice
    As well as other forms of practice in many ways. For example, even our videos are not just videos. Every few minutes, the video pauses and the students get asked a question.
  • How do you grade the work of 100,000 students?
    The answer is, you need to use technology to do it for you. We can now grade a range of interesting types of homework, like multiple choice and short answer questions, we can also grade math, mathematical expressions as well as mathematical derivations. We can grade models, whether it’s financial models in a business class or physical models in a science or engineering class and we can grade some pretty sophisticated programming assignments.
    Now, we cannot yet grade the range of work that one needs for all courses. Specifically, what’s lacking is the kind of critical thinking work that is so essential in such disciplines as the humanities, the social sciences, business and others.
  • Global community
    of students collaborating with each other, e. g. with a forum of questions and answers, where some students raised their doubts and others answered them.
  • Personalization
    is made possible by the large amount of information collected.
  • Are universities obsolete?
    Mark Twain said,”College is a place where a professor’s lecture notes go straight to the students’ lecture notes, without passing through the brains of either”.
    I think it wasn’t the universities that I was criticizing, but the face-to-face classes. Plutarch said,”The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.” Perhaps we should spend less time filling the minds of students and more time igniting their creativity, imagination and problem-solving skills from genuine interaction with them.

What effect would it have on providing quality education to everyone in the world, free of charge?

  1. Education would be established as a fundamental right. Anyone in the world with the capacity and motivation, could develop the skills they need to autonomously improve their quality of life, that of their family and community.
  2. Enable lifelong learning. We would be able to learn something new every time we wanted, whether it’s just to expand our minds or it’s to change our lives.
  3. Enable a wave of innovation, because amazing talent can be found anywhere. Maybe the next Albert Einstein or the next Steve Jobs is living somewhere in a remote village in Africa. And if we could offer that person an education, they would be able to come up with the next big idea and make the world a better place for all of us.

How companies can capitalize MOOCs trend

Some interesting tips from Megatrends in MOOCS: #5 Lifelong Learning about how companies can take advantage of the lifelong learning trend mainly by supporting and recognizing their employees’ learning initiatives. In a recent article for Entrepreneur, Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard identified several tactics businesses can use to create a culture of learning. Here is how these tactics can be used to support employee learning in MOOCs:

  1. Weekly lunch and learns. Once a week, buy lunch and have an employee present what he or she is learning in a MOOC. This can help spread knowledge and also create an environment where learning is seen as a priority.
  2. Training budgets and tuition reimbursement and recognition programs. MOOCs are free to take, but verified certificates cost anywhere between about $40 and $100. Reimburse your employees for these expenses—this practice will both encourage employees to take courses and demonstrate that you support their professional development. Plus, it is a lot cheaper than developing and running an in-house course!
  3. Set specific learning goals. Encourage employees to set learning goals every quarter and then check in with them on how they are doing. For example, managers can monitor their employees’ progress through MOOCs and provide support when necessary. Training departments can track learning efforts to identify and support organization-wide learning efforts.
  4. Distribute books to read. For MOOCs, this tactic can be changed to “vet and recommend courses.” There are hundreds of MOOCs available—training departments can support employee learning efforts by vetting courses and making specific recommendations.
  5. Acknowledge the results. This is the big one—don’t let your employees’ training efforts go unnoticed. Treat MOOC accomplishments the way you would any other training program.

UNESCO’s position on the post-2015 Education agenda

“Education is a right that transforms lives when it is accessible to all, relevant
and underpinned by core shared values. Because quality education is the most
influential force for alleviating poverty, improving health and livelihoods,
increasing prosperity and shaping more inclusive, sustainable and peaceful
societies, it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that it is at the centre of the
post-2015 development agenda.”
UNESCO’s position on the post-2015 Education agenda

Free Higher Education Is a Human Right | Common Dreams

“The OECD found that “The odds that a young person in the U.S. will be in higher education if his or her parents do not have an upper secondary education are just 29% – one of the lowest levels among OECD countries (emphasis ours).” (Source: Education at a Glance – OECD Indicators 2012.)

That’s not a “land of opportunity.” This kind of economic aristocracy is fundamentally un-American. And it’s getting worse.

The cost of higher education is hitting lower-income Americans the hardest. As a recent analysis (from the Hechinger Report, in collaboration with Education Writer’s Association and the Dallas Morning News) showed, “America’s colleges and universities are quietly shifting the burden of their big tuition increases onto low-income students, while many higher-income families are seeing their college costs rise more slowly, or even fall.”

More student aid is being directed to wealthier students, further exacerbating the educational inequality problem.”

Free Higher Education Is a Human Right | Common Dreams.

 

Five myths about Moocs

On Five myths about Moocs, Diana Laurillard explains why a model based on unsupervised learning is not the answer and the MOOCs five myths:

  • the idea that ‘content is free’ in education
  • that students can support each other
  • that Moocs solve the problem of expensive undergraduate education
  • that MOOCs address educational scarcity in emerging economies
  • that Education is a mass customer industry

Diana Laurillard criticizes MOOCs because this format oriented course with a large number of students based on mutual support and peer assessment is not a university education.

University education needs guidance and personalized guidance, which is not possible to scale massively.

Personally I agree with some of these reviews.

Although I think the MOOCs can be an important complement to offer open courses charging for activities that require intensive involvement of teachers and tutors such as support and tutorial guide, personalized assessment and issuance of certificates.

This reflection has different conclusions in the case of education in developed countries or in developing or emerging countries.

In the case of developing and emerging countries, MOOCs are an instrument of universities social commitment decided to extend education to students with limited financial resources and who face situations of exclusion.

How to teach programming/coding?

What is the best way to learn/teach programming/coding?

For example: JavaScript, HTML / CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby, APIs

It isn’t easy to teach and learn online technical subjects such as programming. In my opinion, you need to change the learning paradigm by:
transferring the student the learning responsability for their own learning,
Giving help with with good web based tools and
leading and supporting students progress.

Codecademy offers learn to code interactively, for free.

As Codeacademy writes in his blog:

“We do not want to open up universities. We want to open up knowledge. Everyone knows something they can teach someone else and we want to help them do it. Our community has created tens of thousands of courses and taken millions of courses. At this point, more than a billion lines of code have been submitted to Codecademy.”

Freire, MOOCs and Pedagogy of the Oppressed

In this blog: Freire, MOOCs and Pedagogy of the Oppressed we find an interesting perspective of the philosophy of Paulo Freire, establishing a parallel with modern expressions of innovative pedagogy as MOOCs.

(some comments about this book and the author)
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, written by educator Paulo Freire, proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student, and society. This book published in 1970 proposes an innovative vision of pedagogy and is considered one of the foundational texts of critical pedagogy.
In the book Freire calls traditional pedagogy the “banking model” because it treats the student as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, like a piggy bank. However, he argues for pedagogy to treat the learner as a co-creator of knowledge.

What is the role of an e- Learning advisor?

The traditional roles of consultants and advisers have changed a lot and for the better in recent years.

What expect the customers or who hires the consultant?

One of the most important differences relates to that the consultant don’t do their work for them, he doesn’t-t sell them or tell them to do or use, whether a particular method, product or system.

What do you do then?

It helps them make informed decisions.

It is an interesting reflection of Jane Hart on The (new) role of the Workplace Learning Advisor

She describe more in detail how to help organizations and teams:

  • An update on what is happening in the world of training and learning at work.
  • Knowing the trends and collaboration methods, technologies and tools, as well as answer questions on these news and their implementation.
  • Providing a range of options (ideas and tips) to solve challenges, difficulties and problems.
  • Help them understand the pros and cons, costs and benefits of different solutions for the particular problems they face.
  • Supporting and guidance to implement the option they have chosen.

6 Ways Tech Will Change Education Forever

 6 Ways Tech Will Change Education Forever

As part of a discussion on the future of higher education in New York University (NYU), a group of academics and entrepreneurs were given the mission to predict the future of traditional universities.

6 Ways Tech Will Change Education Forever

All agreed that: “We are experiencing a time of radical restructuring of higher education. The status quo is no longer an option. ”

Here are six great ideas about how technology is about to dramatically change education:

1. Discovering New Talent

We lose because we do not know how to identify talented students. “If we use it correctly, technology will become a talent identifier.”

2. Democratization of Education

Many universities are expensive and have limited capacity. We can make a comparison with the life cycle of a product or service as the first computers and TVs “Initially, products and services are so costly and complicated that only the wealthy have access”

“The people who jumped on first to online learning were the ones who couldn’t come to NYU. It was better than nothing,” he said. “But the technology will get better and better and then the customers get sucked out. The question is not whether this will occur, but what role universities will play.”

3. Flexible financing

Often, the investment required to complete university studies become a barrier, particularly these days, when a degree does not necessarily equate to a job after college.

4. More practical skills training over soft skills

Several studies report that students wasn’t prepared for life in the real world. Two thirds of college graduates will need further training after graduation.

5. Studying as a Decentralized Experience

“At the beginning of the universities, the student had to be in the same place as the teacher and if he wanted to read a book, he had to go to the library. Obviously, said Albert Wenger, of Union Square Ventures, that’s no longer the case.”

6. The university of tomorrow will not look like a university (or a MOOC).

“The university of today is associated with rigid structures that are part of the academic routine: the concept of class, course, grade, credit, degree, department, major, etc. However, the only real thing are the students and the knowledge of things is real. Being able to convey this knowledge. People will find alternate ways to teach those things.”

W22: Personal Learning Networks

One of the things that I find particularly interesting is to collect ideas and inspiration from outstanding lecturers, teachers and writers.

From Ko & Rossen, Chapter 14: “Taking Advantage of New Opportunities”, I have found interesting proposals on activities that I would like to further develop in relation to online teaching:

  • Training covering teaching methods and curriculum development
  • Methodologies about Lifelong Learning
  • New ideas and technologies
  • Short online courses and tutorials in particular software platforms and tools

Another example is Dean Shareski, in the video “Sharing: The Moral Imperative“, arise questions and reflections of value for the analysis about the personal culture of sharing:

  • Why would I do this? (sharing)
  • Is this worth my time?
  • How do I make it valuable and meaningful?
  • and also about the culture of sharing of our educational institutions:
  • Is this an obligation?
  • Does my institution see value in sharing?
  • How will it help my students?
  • Sharing has always been part of the teacher’s job

A good and inspirational Video from Alec Couros, “Teaching and Learning in a Networked World (2010)“, which mention own and others ideas, as:

  • Connect with others: colleagues who are local, and more internationally. Build a personal learning network, as with Twitter.
  • Create a culture of sharing: in schools, within the structure, sharing resources (David Wiley’s “open content” — without sharing there is not education).
  • Stephen Downes: (we) should move beyond the idea of education as being something provided for us, and toward something we create for ourselves.
  • Will Richardson: about the 21st Century Learning – explore what happens to traditional concepts of teaching when we can learn anything any time?

My Personal Learning Network

I started the creation of a personal site with iGoogle for some years ago, connecting my favourite news sites, my blog, additional interesting blogs, Web 2.0 tools and some useful personal bookmarks, both in English and Spanish.

The last time I have reflected a lot about the way I’m working with my personal learning, specially using technology to expand my learning network.

This picture reflects my preliminary conclusions.

PLN