Advising in a New Media World — The Next Frontier

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As education is increasingly mediated through technology, how can we provide a model for advising that can keep pace?  In a related discussion on pedagogy, the structure of the opportunity was framed by Terry Anderson and Jon Dron:

McLuhan 1964 first argued, technologies also influence and define the usage, in this case the pedagogy instantiated in the learning and instructional designs. In an attempt to define a middle ground between either technological or pedagogical determinism, we’ve previously written Anderson, 2009 about the two being intertwined in a dance: the technology sets the beat and creates the music, while the pedagogy defines the moves.

Anderson & Dron were looking at pedagogy in general, but the case applies to advising, as well.  It’s really a two-fold problem.  First, advising must connect students to digital (and global) resources as adeptly as traditional (and in-house) resources.  Second, advising must adopt the lessons learned from the digital world — both from digital pedagogy and the digital world at large.

via Three generations of distance education pedagogy | Anderson | The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.

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Chronicle Profiles 12 Tech Innovators in HigherEd

Among the 12 tech innovators honored by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Candace Thille at Carnegie Mellon University stands out for the real pact she is having on the higher education model. Her work is improving education quality by using technology to break down boundaries within and among institutions. Her big idea:

Treat higher education’s “cost disease” with team-built online courses used across institutions.

CMU has had the courage to not only ask whether the “big into class” is really necessary, but also invest serious $$ replacing these classes with self-directed digital courses…and then make them open to anyone.�&utm_source�&utm_medium=en

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Trends Point to “Disruption” of HigherEd Model

In the latest Chronicle of Higher Ed, Jeff Selingo writes on recent progress towards the disruption of traditional credentials models. Examples include Stanford and MIT.

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Peer Certification via “Open Badges” Attracting Attention from MIT, Chronicle

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The Chronicle of Higher Eduction takes a look at this rising popularity of “Open Badges” for certification.  MIT has been an active supporter, as well as the MacArthur Foundation, but according to the Chronicle,

But the biggest push for badges is coming from industry and education reformers, rather than from traditional educational institutions.

This time it’s not coming from the traditional or for-profit side.  Rather this is taking the form of a movement spanning self-directed learners and the companies who hire them.

Read more at Badges Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas – College 2.0 – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Will Open Education Turn the Corner in 2012?

The “open revolution” in higher education — much anticipated in 2010 — finally began taking root in 2011.  Some observers, including Paul Stacey at BC have anointed 2011  “The Year of Open”:

It’s not just publications, research, theses and other content that is going open, 2011 was the year that open pedagogies including Massively Open Online Courses MOOC were adopted by mainstream big name institutions. A Massively Open Online Course is typically taught by faculty at an established institution to tuition paying regular students but is also open to enrollment by anyone interested for free.

via WCET 2011 Elearning Predictions.

But the greatest leap in 2011 may have been around infrastructure.  I’ve written previously about efforts by PESC, MIT/OpenCourseware and others to build the necessary content and technology infrastructure for “open education“, but these have mostly been efforts by traditional education entities: schools, education technology vendors, consortia, and industry organizations.

Perhaps the most exciting leap forward in “open education” is the entry of non-education partners, including the Mozilla with its “Open Badges” project:

Learning today happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it’s often difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements that happen outside of school. Mozilla’s Open Badges project is working to solve that problem, making it easy for anyone to issue, earn and display badges across the web — through a shared infrastructure that’s free and open to all.

Mozilla’s effort is the first program we’ve seen that provides all of the elements required for open certification — peer evaluation, standardization, portability — in a single package.  Funding for Open Badges was provided by the MacArthur Foundation.

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MIT Will Offer Certificates to Outside Students Who Take Its Online Courses – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

MIT accelerates the online course arms race among elite universities.  Starting in spring 2012, students who participate in MIT’s free online courses will have the opportunity to receive a certificate of completion from MIT:

Millions of learners have enjoyed the free lecture videos and other course materials published online through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare project. Now MIT plans to release a fresh batch of open online courses—and, for the first time, to offer certificates to outside students who complete them.

MIT has long been the leaders in the open-education movement as one of the first universities to offer *all* of its course materials online a decade ago as part of its OpenCourseware (OCW) initiative.  MIT is upping the ante and affirming its belief in the value of OCW by granting certificates to participants in a select (and growing) cohort of online courses.

via MIT Will Offer Certificates to Outside Students Who Take Its Online Courses – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

More information about MIT and OpenCourseware at

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Can Facebook Make You Smarter?

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Sarah Cargill on the GettingSmart blog features a new infographic from the clever folks at

showing the impact of Facebook on higher education.  Some tidbits:

1) College who are actively engaged Facebook are more likely to graduate

2) Less engaged Facebook users are more likely to be playing games online

A study in correlation≠causation or a good reason to waste more time online?  Decide for yourself!

Infographic: Facebook University | Getting Smart.

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Hybrid Education – A Highly Flexible Form Of Schooling By Ross Whiting


Hybrid education refers to a form of teaching that combines regular online training with less frequent or occasional on-campus classes… People who lack the time and financial resources to take up a course in a regular institution would find hybrid education extremely suited to their requirements.  (Read more at

via What’s New on Kambeo and Elsewhere | Kambeo.

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Onsite and Online learning: A Meaningful Distinction Any Longer? in WCET Frontiers

From Trent Batston for WCET Frontiers:

The presumption that students in a completely online course cannot have the real-life social interactions and informal learning opportunities is, ironically, an unreal argument.  Imaginatively designed courses leverage the experiences learners have wherever they reside. Distributed learners, after all, don’t just spontaneously coalesce from a cloud of pixels simply because they have walked into a classroom. And even the most die-hard traditionalist will admit that a successful learner must log focused hours reading, writing, studying, and thinking outside of the classroom.

Photo of Trent BabsonTrent Batson, AAEEBL

An inclusive view of online and onsite understands that even an onsite course might also be essentially completely online as in, for example, a studio-writing course –one that teaches writing through writing.  And, an online course can in fact be more interactive and student-centered than many courses taught on a campus, for instance a distributed service learning project in which students collaborate online to solve real problems in the communities where they live.

Mode of delivery and quality are largely unrelated.  Learning design is the salient factor.

Though it is not entirely understood yet in many (and often critical) quarters, the debate between online and traditional courses is over. Pondering the evolution of the change, however, we are reminded of Arthur C. Clarke’s observation that transformations that attend new technologies are usually over estimated in the short run and underestimated in the long run.

via Onsite and Online learning: A Meaningful Distinction Any Longer? « WCET Frontiers.

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Free is Free: Popular Standford ComSci & Entrepreneurship Classes

Occupy CAL - Berkeley 11/172011

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With barricades blocking the registrar’s offices at UC Davis & Berkeley, online education may be the only way some of us get to class this spring.  Just in time, Stanford has put some of its most popular entrepreneurship classes online…for free.

Some of these classes are legendary.  The complete list is posted at Reddit…

…and unexpectedly not on the Stanford Site.  It’s a cool viral approach and I like it.  If you are interested in some of the background, there is more info here.


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