Tag Archives: Gamification

MOOCBusters

Last week Coursera announced an educational partnership with Discovery Communications  to offer Coursera MOOCs via their new web portal Curiosity.com.  As noted in the press release, Discovery Communications is the parent company for both The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet:

We’re excited at the potential of Curiosity.com to expand our reach and give students an additional channel for exploring their professional and personal interests among Coursera’s offerings, as well as among those of other available educational resources.

The Curiosity.com platform looks like many of the video-based Internet education offerings of this modern day:  Upworthy, TED, even MOOC provider Canvas.  They really look the same.  It’s  as if WordPress has but one education design option and everyone is required to use it.  From a design standpoint, learning in 2014 equates to a three-column desktop publishing layout, one click promising an equivalent to Neo’s kung fu lesson in The Matrix.

learning_in_2014

An amalgam of screenshots from education-centric websites — January 14, 2014.

There is certainly space for research and discussion of the digital layout of education in 2014; Curiosity.com is just one of many start-ups to follow the dominant paradigm that seems beholden to building freedom of choice through content boxes.  Stuart Hall would have a field day with why education is delivered in such a fashion.  That is for another time, however.

Neither the design of Curiousity.com nor its vision are unique in todays saturated marketplace of content branded as education.  What is unique about Curiosity.com is more its holding company, Discovery Communications, and their history in education.   Continue reading

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MOOCs, Inference & Political Punditry

One US Presidential Election takeaway of note for me was the perception of veracity in the Republican party’s projections.  When I woke up on Tuesday morning and read Nate Silver’s ultimate blog post at fivethirtyeight.com, I relayed to my wife that for President Obama to lose, there would have to be a foundational problem with state as well as national polling, not to mention the metric foundations of demographic data analysis.  A loss for the President would not be based on several mistaken variables, but instead a systemic issue at the foundation of the algorithms and the theory behind them.  Yet 12 hours later, Karl Rove famously melted down on the Fox News set, demanding answers from Fox’s number crunchers (and not receiving the answers he was hoping for).  The obvious question — despite extensive evidence to the contrary, how could Rove be so bamboozled by the election outcome?

Chris Argyris developed a tool for understanding how individuals utilize information and form perceptions in his 1990 Ladder of Inference.   Continue reading

Catching Up on Tweeted Links – September 20

I’m noticing three areas of MOOC info.  The first is PR from the makers:  EdX, Coursera, Udacity and the like are pinging their information out there (most recently Coursera’s announcement of 17 new associated universities, including liberal arts university Wesleyean), so whether it comes from the source or is directed through a blog, it’s still news on the nuts and bolts development of this learning method.  The second comes from the literature:  what is the theory behind MOOC learning, where is its history, and where is it headed.  This requires digging, as the MOOC makers are not focusing their time or speech on learning theory, pedagogy, methodology, etc.  The third is punditry:  a mix of research and news, it involves people discussing their thoughts on news of the day, tying it (to varying levels of rigor and success) to literature.  The third section is what explodes daily across the Internet, and it’s also the place I am putting the least focus (opinions are easy, but how are they shaped, where do they come from, and what are the implications…such goes into research).

At this point, I use Twitter extensively as a learning network amongst peers and experts in the field, basically marking anything within the realm of MOOC or Distance Learning as a favorite, and going back later to see what was there. Continue reading