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Week 4 (9.28.18) Assignments
What Was That All About? Peak MOOC Hype and Post-MOOC Legacies
When MOOCs were introduced less than ten years ago, many individuals saw them as a way to revolutionize higher education. However, others believed that it was destined to fail. Although the media hype around MOOCs declined, enrollment and the number of courses offered is only increasing. Nonetheless, the concept of MOOCs is changing. Before, they were perceived as an open access to higher education. Now, however, several individuals want to turn them into “mentored open online community” by incorporating social media and creating a professional development space for university staff and students alike (Bennett & Kent, 2017, p.6). Nevertheless, several concerns can be raised regarding this framework of MOOCs. First, it takes a form of a regular discussion forum. Second, as was mentioned by Bennett and Kent (2017), it challenges the openness component of the higher education. In other words, only those individuals, who are already in the field or studying in this field, will have access to knowledge or information, thereby, becoming exclusive. Therefore, this new framework of MOOCs completely contradicts its initial concept.
Bennett, R. and Kent, M. (2017). What was that all about? Peak MOOC hype and post-MOOC legacies. Chapter 1, pp. 1-8 in R. Bennett and M. Kent (Eds.), Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education. New York: Routledge.
A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses
Although the framework of MOOCs is changing, some issues are either left unresolved or emerged. For instance, as Kop, Fournier, and Mak (2011) have mentioned, one of the issues with MOOCs is the lack of participation by the instructor or facilitator. Therefore, there is no feedback and navigation, which are essential components for the learning process. Although some participants value autonomy, the lack of structure in these courses might lead to the lack of participation of learners in these courses and common educational goals. One can conclude that the direction of the course rests in the hands of learners, and its success depends on the learners’ motivation, prior knowledge, and experience.
There are many individuals who are still accustomed to structured learning. Thus, it might take time for them to adapt to such format of learning. In other words, transitional activities are essential for these individuals and MOOCs (Kop, Fournier, & Mak, 2011). As was highlighted by Kop, Fournier, and Mak (2011), the role of the facilitator in these courses is highly debatable, which presents a serious issue in terms of power relations, especially since there is a shift from rigidly structured courses to social networks with an incorporation of social media. As Kop, Fournier, and Mak (2011) stated, it is vital to find the balance between rigidly structured learning and open social networks. Otherwise, MOOCs will become another discussion forum with a facilitator serving as a moderator.
Kop, R., Fournier, H., and Mak, J. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. The International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 74-93.
Evaluating the Use of Metaphor in Online Learning Environments
According to Falconer (2008), the current design of online learning environments is ineffective for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or individuals exhibiting traits associated with ASD. In particular, the current design of the online learning environments may lead to exclusion of those individuals. This led to a development of Research Observatory (RO), which incorporates the use of a cartographic metaphor.
The use of constellations would be beneficial in an online learning environment as it allows the learner to see a connection or a relationship between topics and concepts. In other words, it makes learning more meaningful. Everything in our universe is related. Thus, when one assumes that certain subjects are useless, the RO approach offers another perspective and makes the topics more relevant. According to Falconer (2008), many users found it helpful. It would be interesting to see how educators might adopt the concept of RO when designing their online courses. Furthermore, this article raises the following question: how to make an online learning environment more accessible to individuals with disabilities?
Falconer, L. (2008). Evaluating the use of metaphor in online learning environments. Interactive Learning Environments, 16(2), 117-129.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Learning with MOOCs by George Siemens
George Siemens mentioned that the labor market flipped in terms of employment and that education is essential. He also stated that if one is from a lower socioeconomic status and does not have access to quality education, he or she is at a disadvantage. How about jobs such as plumbing or locksmith? One does not necessarily need a degree from a university to perform these jobs. He or she might just attend a trade school and have a pretty decent salary.
Notwithstanding, in the educational sector, one of the potential reasons as to why tenure-track employment continues to decline is due to the fact that many tenure-track faculty members do not want to retire due to a decline in 401k. This can be applied to all sectors of the job market as many individuals cannot afford to retire; thus, there is a decline in job positions. However, it varies depending on one’s qualifications and industries. For instance, STEM professionals are now in demand.
Also, Siemens wants to make learning more accessible and cheaper? How about the quality of that education? Many employers do not have a high opinion of MOOCs. There are even students who sign up for MOOCs but do not finish them. If students sign up for a for-credit course that will appear on their transcript, they are more likely to take their studies seriously than when they sign up for MOOCs. Siemens even stated himself that there is a lack of educational goals for MOOCs.
Week 7 (10.17.18) Assignments
Reflection for All Articles
With the growth of technological development, the format of the libraries has also evolved. In traditional libraries, it takes time to locate, deliver, and request an item as the number of resources available in each location is limited due to available space and funding. Likewise, they are decentralized (Brophy, 2006). Digital libraries resolve this issue to some extent. Furthermore, another nuance is the following, traditional libraries adhere to the objectivist approach while learning requires a constructivist approach (Brophy, 2006). Digital libraries might remedy this situation as well with constant updates, learning systems, and use of meta-data. It creates a social learning environment. Furthermore, Natriello and Hughes (2008) mentioned that the roles of the library staff and educators are also changing, especially methods of interactions. Kramer (2010) proposed virtual reference real-time online communication methods between online learners and librarians such as Skype due to the lack of a physical reference desk. This implies that the profession of a librarian will take on a new meaning.
Digital libraries are useful instruments, especially for academic institutions and online learning environments as they offer a variety of resources, information, and documents, as is seen with the launching of Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) (Darnton, 2013). Nonetheless, in regards to DPLA, the following question can be raised: how many visitors will there be on the DPLA website? It is a very useful resource of information, especially since it links the nation collection with those of other countries (Darnton, 2013). However, how many individuals will take an advantage of this? It needs promotion in academic and work setting. Moreover, Zha, Wang, Yan, Zhang, and Zha (2015) conducted a study and found that there is a significant effect of ease of use and usefulness in flow experience on information seeking in digital libraries. They also suggested librarians to provide user training (Zha, Wang, Yan, Zhang, & Zha, 2015). I am really interested in the logistics of implementing user training programs. Also, an access to some resources requires subscriptions or purchase, as was discussed by Kramer (2010). Does this imply that digital libraries will lead to a decrease in free access to certain information resources or items?
Brophy, P. (2006). The eLibrary and learning. In Weiss, J. et al. (eds.) The international handbook of virtual learning environments. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 895-914.
Darnton, R. (2013, April 25.). The National Digital Public Library is Launched. New York Review of Books
Kramer, S. (2010). Virtual libraries in online learning. Chapter 19 in K. Rudestam & J. Schoenholtz-Read (eds.). Handbook of Online Learning. (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage, pp. 445-466.
Natriello, G. & Hughes, B. (2008). Learning in libraries. Pp. 188-198 in T. Good (ed.). 21st Century Education: A Reference Handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Zha, X., Wang, W., Yan,Y., Zhang, J.,and Zha, D. (2015) Understanding information seeking in digital libraries: antecedents and consequences. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 67(6), 715-734.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Libraries and Learning Communities by Lee Rainie
The libraries that were proposed by Raine can serve as useful models as they provide real-time information to individuals, which is essential for a learning environment since information and knowledge are constantly updating. There are cases when information provided to learners might already be considered outdated. For instance, it takes time for academic articles to undergo the peer-review process and the updated information to appear in textbooks. However, the libraries envisioned by Rainie might remedy this issue to some extent. As Rainie mentioned, people “chronicle” every event that occurs in their lives. Likewise, due to the popularity of social networks, people access the accuracy and validity of the information that appears on the feeds, thereby, creating a learning community. It introduces people to the type of information that they might not have known about but it might evoke their interest in researching it. The librarians act as arbitrators in the Rainie’s proposed model of libraries. This presents an opportunity for learning communities to interact with the librarians. In other words, both educators and learners can benefit from this model of libraries.
Paper and Visualization
Week 1 (9.7.18) Assignments
The Project Method
It is interesting that Kilpatrick (1918) used the term “wholeheartedness” when it comes to purpose. I completely agree with his view that if a child is approaching the project or task with “wholeheartedness”, as in, with thought and interest, he or she is more likely to put effort and the learning experience is more meaningful as opposed to a child who is not interested in the task or subject but is forced to learn it. Furthermore, as Kilpatrick (2018) has mentioned, if a child is genuinely interested in a topic, he or she is more likely to relate it to other topics and is more likely to apply it to his or her tasks. However, children who are coerced into learning a subject or working on a project that does not interest them, are less likely to retain the information they learned, especially once the class is finished or the project is completed (Kilpatrick, 2018). Nonetheless, I am ambivalent in regards to coercion hindering the process of acquiring new interests. On the one hand, if children feel that they are obligated to learn a topic or a skill, they might view it more as a chore, treat it as an annoyance, and eagerly anticipate its completion. On the other hand, they might discover their passion for this subject and skill and enhance their knowledge of it.
Nevertheless, I agree with Kilpatrick’s (2018) view that schools cater to children’s whims. Even today, many schools are lowering their graduation requirements, and teachers are lowering their standards by allowing students to submit their assignments after the deadline, accepting excuses that can hardly be considered an emergency, and lowering the number of homework assignments and difficulty level of tests. In other words, they do not challenge the students by making them apply their knowledge to certain purposeful task or project. For instance, many children like problems that are a replica of the sample problems from the textbooks. However, once they are given a project which forces them to apply that knowledge, they immediately seek help without ruminating about it first. That is why many teachers do not like assigning such projects since they believe that these assignments are too difficult for their students. From this, one can conclude that Kilpatrick’s (2018) arguments have merit even today, despite the fact that a century has passed since the publication of this text.
Kilpatrick, W. (1918). The project method. Teachers College Record, 19(4), 319-335.
Chasing innovation: A Pilot Case Study of a Rhizomatic Design Thinking Education Program
As I was reading about the study conducted by Biffi, Bissola, and Imperatori (2017), I immediately thought of group projects or group work that students complete over the course of their educational journey, especially if those projects are research studies that students have to design and conduct. To some extent, they are guided by the rhizomatic approach, with the following exceptions: boundaries, hierarchy, and homogenous educational background. Notwithstanding, rhizomatic design thinking education program is a great way for everyone to work collaboratively on a project or a problem and be able to treat one’s teammates as equals since there is no hierarchy involved. Also, because there are no boundaries, one can easily leave if he or she has a different vision than that of his or her group; thereby minimizing the probability of conformity. Also, since individuals have different backgrounds, it makes the learning process more effective as students learn different perspectives on the same topic. However, there are several drawbacks to this approach. One of the drawbacks was mentioned by Biffi, Bissola, and Imperatori (2017), which is disorientation. Since there are no boundaries and stable roles in this approach, there is no group structure or organization. Usually, when working in teams, there is always a group leader, who is either chosen by the teammates or who self-volunteered for this role. He or she is usually responsible for the deadlines and the organization of the group. Without the presence of these elements, an individual can get easily confused, disoriented, and overwhelmed (Biffi, Bissola, & Imperatori, 2017). Likewise, everyone has to be on the same page and strive towards a common goal. Furthermore, everyone has to be actively participating. In other words, it has to be a group effort. In reality, it is difficult to measure how much each group member contributed to the exchange of knowledge and innovation process. As was noted by Biffi, Bissola, and Imperatori (2017), more research studies, preferably longitudinal studies and in United States, have to be conducted on rhizomatic design thinking education program since this is only a pilot case study. As in, this study lacks reliability.
Biffi, A., Bissola R. & Imperatori, B. (2017). Chasing innovation: a pilot case study of a rhizomatic design thinking education program. Education and Training, 59(9), 957-977.
Designerly Ways of Knowing
Cross (1982) believes that design should be viewed as a separate discipline. I, on the other hand, believe that design should be viewed as a subdiscipline since synthesis occurs in a certain context. For instance, Cross (1982) stated that, perhaps, one might call the “third culture” technology instead of design since technology “involves a synthesis of knowledge and skills from both the sciences and the humanities, in the pursuit of practical tasks” (p. 222). Moreover, although Royal College of Arts authors proposed viewing design as a “third-area” in education, they did not elaborate what exactly does this “third-area” should include and how to teach it in schools. Furthermore, in the modern world, due to constant technological innovations and access to data, the methods of “planning, inventing, making and doing” are constantly changing. In other words, a method that was taught in the class a year ago, today, might be considered outdated. This only exacerbates the problem when implementing design in general education. Criteria can be created for the basic concept of design; however, details of this area of education can only be taught in the concept of other disciplines and through applied projects.
Nevertheless, in regards to viewing design in general education in terms of its intrinsic value, I completely agree. However, unfortunately, many individuals, especially students and even some educators, place emphasis on the extrinsic value of general education. A quintessential example of this is math education, where many students believe that there is no extrinsic value to it unless it is essential for their career; thereby, completely disregarding its intrinsic value.
Notwithstanding, there is one statement that I disagree with and it is the following: design should not be confused with science since science is focused on problem-solving whereas design is focused on the synthesis (Cross, 1982). I believe that science is also about designing; otherwise, it would not receive any funding. One of the primary examples of this is psychology, where researchers design assessment tools for disorders.
Overall, design can be viewed more as a subdiscipline than discipline in general education since, without context, it is not only difficult to teach but is also not as effective.
Cross, N. (1982). Designerly ways of knowing. Design Studies, 3(4), 221-227.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Innovation through Design Thinking by Tim Brown
My Comment (also posted on Vialogues):
When it comes to approaching projects as designers, one has to think about the real-world implications, how it might solve a particular problem, or how to modernize the system. However, most importantly, one has to explore their environment, which might include researching their industry. These factors can serve as an inspiration. In other words, it has to be applicable. As Mr. Brown has stated, “It starts with empathy.”For instance, in the education industry, designers can think about the flaws or unresolved issues in the education system for inspiration, the age of the children that are targeted, brainstorm possible solutions, and create an experiment that places a priority on external validity. However, it is also important to keep teachers in mind when it comes to design thinking. Mr. Brown called design thinking a “human-scented process.” In the education industry, design can be thought of as a student-teacher process.
Week 5 (10.5.18) Assignments
Virtual Schools: Reflections on Key Issues
Russell (2006) stated that it is difficult to differentiate Virtual Schooling from Home Schooling at its present state as both modes of learning utilize the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). He also mentioned that parental support is vital when it comes to the out-of-school model of Virtual School. However, many parents are working and physically cannot supervise their children. Nonetheless, he stated that students enrolled in the out-of-school model of Virtual School are likely to engage in social activities when not doing school work. It is quite an optimistic view because many of them are probably either going to be staring at their smartphones or playing video games. This leads to an issue with the development of empathy, which Russell (2006) also touched upon. Social interaction is an important element in the child’s development and traditional schools enable it. Hence, I believe that VLE is more likely to be effective for older children and higher education.
Russell, G. (2006). Virtual schools: Reflections on key issues. In Weiss, J. et al. (eds.) The international handbook of virtual learning environments. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 329-344.
“Failure” Irrelevant: Virtual Schools and Accountability-Immunity
Despite Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), a virtual charter school and for-profit business in Ohio, receiving a failing grade, its enrollment and popularity continue to grow. It provides an alternative to traditional public schools and admitted at-risk students, which might explain the failing grade of the school as online schooling requires self-discipline and parental supervision, which is not always attainable. One of the obvious reasons as to why government officials might be proponents of this form of online schooling and digital learning, in general, is because it helps the government to save money and lifts the burden of accountability for children’s education off of the government’s shoulders. In other words, the government will not have to allocate resources into school renovations and teacher contracts, which include benefits. Furthermore, the government will not have any control over the level of teaching standards and the school curricula.
Nespor, J. and Voithofer, R. (2016). “Failure” irrelevant: Virtual schools and accountability-immunity. Teacher College Record, 118(7), 1-28.
Virtual Schools: The Changing Landscape of K-12 Education in the U.S
Although there is a growing popularity of virtual schools, I do not believe that they will completely replace the traditional form of schooling. As Toppin and Toppin (2015) mentioned, virtual schools are not able to offer extra-curricular activities. Also, discipline is essential (Toppin & Toppin, 2015). Additionally, since everything is online, Internet security is critical, especially when it comes to confidentiality. Virtual schools are a good alternative to traditional schools for children who are constantly relocating and for those whose local schools do not accommodate children “who are differently abled” (Toppin & Toppin, 2015, p. 1577). Nonetheless, virtual schooling raises serious questions. For instance, who will supervise the children and make sure that they complete their assignments? If parents are working, their only option is to hire a babysitter. It is important to keep in mind that “traditional brick-and-mortar” schools solve many problems. Not only do they provide academic resources, but they also teach children to socialize, fulfill babysitting functions while parents are working, and promote the development of empathy. Virtual schools can serve as a great supplement for many children but I doubt they will be the primary mode of learning, especially considering their poor performance.
Toppin, I. and Toppin, S. (2015). Virtual schools: The changing landscape of K-12 education in the U.S. Education and Information Technologies 21(6), 1571-1581,
The Virtual University
According to Kamenetz (2010), research shows that hybrid learning is the most effective compared to both online-only and classroom-only approaches. Unfortunately, I have witnessed the opposite result in higher education. In particular, because the class usually only meets once a week, the educator tries to cover as much as possible during the time frame of the lecture. As a result, students do have enough time to process the information provided. Also, some material, which is not covered in class, they have to learn on their own, which requires motivation. As for NCAT course redesigns improving outcomes, how about the level of difficulty of the material presented? If grading tests and quizzes are automated, the instructor does not see what areas the class needs to improve on. Nonetheless, in regards to digital textbooks, the only issue is that once the course ends, students lose access to those textbooks unless they buy the e-book version. As for open content, in particular, “Online Skills Laboratory”, it is beneficial for those individuals who cannot afford higher education.
Kamenetz, A. (2010). The virtual university. The American Prospect, 21(4), 22-25. http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_virtual_university
Competency-Based Education and Western Governors University
Competency-based assessments are more reflective of students’ knowledge and skills than the letter-grade and credit system since many teachers and professors have different grading criteria. For instance, some educators give an “A” only to exceptional students while others give an A to students that meet the standards despite their lack of knowledge in certain topics or concepts of the course material. Thus, it reduces the probability of bias. Furthermore, as was mentioned by Marcus (2017), having a separate team of assessors also reduces bias since some educators might be more lenient in regards to grading in order to preserve their reputation. Competency-based assessments are very beneficial in showing which areas the student should improve on. It is can be a useful tool in higher education and is more objective than the letter-grade and credit system. This explains why Western Governors University (WGU) changed its mission to solely focus on competency-based programs and is successful according to Meyer (2009).
Marcus, J. (2017). Competency-based education put to the test: An inside look at learning and assessment at Western Governors University. Education Next, 17(4), 26 pages. https://www.educationnext.org/competency-based-education-put-to-the-test-western-governors-university-learning-assessment/
Meyer, K. (2009). Western Governors University: Creating the first virtual university. New Directions for Higher Education, 2009(146), pp. 35-43.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Alice Spring as an Online School
It is surprising to learn that virtual schools are not a new concept. Alice Springs School of the Air demonstrates that virtual classrooms can be just as effective as regular classrooms, especially for children who live in remote locations. Nevertheless, I am interested in the way the science laboratories are conducted in Alice Springs School of the Air. Also, family issues and home environment can serve as a distraction for children. It requires discipline and organization. Nonetheless, it helps children to save time on the commute and use that time productively.
Week 8 (10.26.18) Assignments
Reflection for All Articles
As I was reading the Taplin’s (2017) text, one statement stood out. It is the following: “For all the outrage generated by Edward Snowden over National Security Agency spying, the average citizen (though unknowingly) turned over to Google and Facebook far more personal information than the government will ever have” (Taplin, 2017, p.15). I had an exact same thought when the story about Edward Snowden’s exposure on NSA appeared on the news a couple of years ago. People are posting their whole lives on social media websites, including the most intimate moments or events. They are constantly photographing everything as opposed to just enjoying the view. The concept of private life is gradually disappearing. Ironically, they are also complaining about the violation of privacy. As for the expression of hate online, which was discussed by Keipi et al. (2017), do individuals, who post such content, perceive it as negative? Furthermore, what is alarming is that one group of individuals post this content and the other group reads this content and gets influenced, thereby, creating a vicious cycle. Also, social media paints a clear picture of the public’s opinion. In regards to news exposure, one can conclude that social media undermines the work of journalists. According to Bakshy, Messing, and Adamic (2015), an increasing number of individuals get their news from social media. However, the information that appears on social media is unfiltered and is tailored algorithmically to one’s choices, ideological beliefs, and interests, which leads to polarization. This raises the following question: how can we resolve this issue? Are corporations such as Facebook and Google setting an agenda when providing the content?
Bakshy, E., Messing, S. and Adamic, L. (2015, 05 June). Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on Facebook. Science, 348(6239), 1130-1132.
Keipi, T., Näsi, M., Oksanen, A. and Räsänen, P. (2017). Social spheres of online hate – Chapter 7, pp. 129-150 in Online hate and harmful content: Cross-national perspectives. New York: Routledge.
Taplin, J. (2017). Introduction and The Great Disruption - Chapter 1 Pp. 3-32 in Move fast and break things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon cornered culture and undermined democracy. New York: Little Brown.
(Vialogue) Discussion of the Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser
One of the issues with the filter bubbles is that the algorithm decides for the learner what he or she needs to know. It is a form of adaptive learning. However, it does not enable the learners to explore the online environment on their own. Also, the algorithmic filters conduct calculations based on the data collected from the learner's device. It does not offer the learner multiple perspectives. As in, the information presented to the learner is usually one-sided. Likewise, these algorithmic filters are not as efficient in gate-keeping the information.
Online Learning Opportunity
Week 2 (9.14.18) Assignments
Introduction and The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Schwab (2016) sounded very optimistic in his writing about the fourth industrial revolution. He wrote, “In this revolution, emerging technologies and broad-based innovation are diffusing much faster and more widely than in previous ones” (Schwab, 2016, p.12). However, he did not consider individuals’ attitudes regarding the new technologies. There are companies which prefer human interactions rather than an implementation of the new technology. Furthermore, it takes time for companies and schools, especially public schools, to fully implement the new technologies. Likewise, not every company and school can afford it. Moreover, not every individual can afford the new technologies and is eager to learn them. In other words, the fourth industrial revolution only benefits the privileged. Also, not everyone is willing to accept it. Therefore, the “profound” change in our economic system and social structure will not be immediate.
As for inequality becoming more prominent, many companies view the innovations and technologies of the fourth industrial revolution as a substitution of human labor. Nevertheless, it creates new professions, thereby, new jobs, which require specialized education and training. In other words, some professions are disappearing while the new ones emerge due to the fourth revolution. It enabled the development of online learning, allowing people from different parts of the world to participate in classes for professional development and to expand their skill set. Likewise, it paved the way for the development of different types of online learning such as tutorial videos, virtual classrooms, online forums, and plain text. It allowed students to expand their knowledge beyond classrooms and to apply their knowledge to their projects. Furthermore, it allowed them to connect with peers based on interests and exchange knowledge, which fosters innovation. To some extent, it made design thinking possible by eliminating the boundaries of human imagination, creativity, and access to information and data.
Schwab, K. (2016). Introduction and The fourth industrial revolution, pp. 7-17 in The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum.
The Information Society
Although there is a development of info-sphere and techno-sphere and we have access to various kinds of information, several questions can be raised. First, what to do with all of this information and how to apply it? Do we actually know how to filter, analyze, and interpret it? As for the machine being smart instead of the worker, it depends on the qualifications of the worker. When it comes to automation of tedious work, which allows workers for more creative tasks, it certainly has become a widespread practice (Kumar, 2005). For example, in schools and universities, a student can register for classes on his or her own with the use of the online computer software. Occasionally, there might be mishaps with the system which might require human assistance. Likewise, there is a decrease in library job positions due to automation of the library catalog and borrow and return process.
The development of the information society has a tremendous impact on online learning, not say, fostering its development. This raises numerous question such as the following: what will be the teachers’ role in the context of online learning or will they be displaced by computerization? Will the online learning platforms such as Canvas or Pearson aid teachers or will the teachers aid these platforms? Will the concept of standardized education vanish since many students gain knowledge beyond classrooms? Does this imply that there is supposed to be a revision of school assessments? Hopefully, the displacement of teachers will not occur as they are an integral part of our education; however, their role might as well change, becoming more supplementary.
Kumar, K. (2005). The information society, pp. 33-60 in From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society: New Theories of the Contemporary World, 33-60. New York: Blackwell.
Digital Na(t)ives? Variations in Internet Use and Skills Among Members of the “Net Generation”
Despite many young individuals having access to the internet; thereby, access to literacy, many of those individuals either do not take advantage of it or may not even know how. Some of the factors associated with parents’ level of education, gender, and race (Hargittai, 2010). It is not surprising there is a relationship between parents’ level of education and an individual’s user skills, where individuals with at least one parent holding a graduate degree, show “statistically significantly higher level know-how about the Web than others” (Hargittai, 2010, pp. 104-105). When a household consists of at least one parent holding a graduate degree, this implies that the parents might place emphasis on education when raising their children and might have the financial means to provide access to literacy. Hargittai (2010) wrote, “Those who are already more privileged tend to have more Internet use autonomy and resources” (p. 109). They also have more leisure time as opposed to people who are not as privileged and think about how to make ends meet. Likewise, they have an opportunity to attend private schools and hire private tutors that might teach them the Web-use and “capital-enhancing online activities” (Hargittai, 2010). In other words, they have resources to learn to use the Internet more efficiently. Thus, digital inequality usually accompanies social inequality.
Overall, Hargittai’s (2010) study is correlational; thus, there is no control over the confounding variables. Another weakness of this study is that sample is not as representative as White participants constituted 42.7 percent of the sample. Likewise, Hargittai (2010) did not clarify whether the students’ parents are biological or adoptive. Also, the researchers administered a survey; in other words, the results are based on self-reports. Therefore, there might have been social desirability bias.
It is important to note that people’s Web-use skills are equivalent to their needs, interests, and profession. In other words, if their job position does not require conducting research, knowledge of web terminology, and “capital-enhancing online activities”, there is no need for them to acquire those skills unless they are interested (Hargittai, 2010). Nonetheless, this can become problematic for those users in a learning environment, especially online learning. One of the goals of the developers of online academic platforms is supposed to be to create such platforms to accommodate individuals who lack Internet literacy and Web-use skills in order to narrow the digital inequality gap. Likewise, they are supposed to provide training for those individuals before allowing them to participate in an online academic platform.
Hargittai, E. (2010). Digital na(t)ives? Variations in internet use and skills among members of the “net generation.” Sociological Inquiry, 80(1), 92-113.
Modest Changes, Revolutionary Possibilities
As distance learning has expanded and many learning institutions take advantage of it, there are problems or unresolved issues that still remain. Some of the issues that were mentioned in Natriello (2005), were “lack of institutional support, lack of scholarly respect, lack of training,” and “lack of standards for online courses” (p. 1890). However, one issue that can be further elaborated on is “lack of time” (p. 1890). In particular, instructors spend more time on online classes than onsite or on-campus classes since they have to read the students’ discussion board posts, answer students’ emails, which outnumber the amount of emails sent by students from onsite classes, and constantly monitor the academic platform for netiquette and messages from students. Likewise, there is much more coursework for online classes than onsite classes. Another aspect that might seem problematic, to some extent, is educational institutions purchasing courses and materials from other institutions and implementing them into the curriculum, especially if the instructors do not revise or adapt the course to reflect their understanding of the course material. This only diminishes the instructors’ role in teaching.
Nevertheless, there are many positive aspects to distance learning. Some of those benefits include granting access to education to students, who live in remote locations, no time constraints on lectures, and reallocation of financial resources towards the “development of educational services” instead of the support of the facility. Furthermore, distance learning, specifically, discussion board posts permit all of the students to participate in class discussions and to be heard. Additionally, it enables instructors to work in various settings and it accommodates their schedule. Moreover, since the educational institutions’ administrators have access to the academic platforms used for distance learning, they can regulate and monitor classroom activities. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to examine the outlook for hybrid classes, which incorporates features of both an online and an onsite class.
Natriello, G. (2005). Modest changes, revolutionary possibilities. Teachers College Record, 107(8), 1885-1904.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Education in the Digital Age by Eszter Hargittai
When it comes to the digital inequality, I am surprised that despite young adults having access to the literacy, they do not take advantage of it. I agree with Eszter Hargittai that the best way to think of it is in terms of a spectrum. It is quite alarming that many of them cannot answer those simple multiple choices questions regarding web use skills. One can conclude that those individuals, who are not technologically savvy, just use the trial and error method when clicking something on the internet and if it works, they continue utilizing that function without researching its purpose. Skilled individuals, on the other hand, usually try to expand their skill set by researching; thus, they are more likely to take advantage of the internet as it provides access to literacy. As for schools not offering to teach children computer skills by assuming that those children are technologically savvy, one way to remedy this issue is by making a computer science class mandatory and even offer a research class. Although teachers and librarians provide support, as one can see, it is not enough since many students do not make use of these resources if it is not mandatory.
As for online learning opportunities, unfortunately, not every student can take advantage of them due to web use skills and digital use limitations. Therefore, academic platforms, which encompass online learning, should include a video tutorial and step-by-step instructions on its front page. Likewise, instructors should provide step-by-step written instructions on accessing different pages of the platform and submitting assignments.
(Vialogue) Discussion of The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The changes in physical, digital, and biological systems of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have a profound impact on online learning and present new opportunities. The way children seek information and learn has changed immensely, with an inclination towards programming, robotics, and innovation. Some schools are implementing project-based learning and design thinking. In addition to attending classes, children watch online tutorial videos and conduct their own research on topics of interest. Thus, online learning will only expand. It already includes virtual classrooms, online forums, videos, plain text, unlimited number of seats, students from different countries, etc. But, this is only a beginning as new formats will emerge to engage more people. I will not be surprised if, soon, the main goal of schools will just be to present basic concepts, assign innovation projects, and connect students to educational resources. As was mentioned by Peter Maurer, digital inequality will become more visible. In other words, this change will discriminate against people, including unprivileged young adults, who use the internet in inefficient ways and lack Web-use skills (Hargittai, 2010). All of this raises several questions, which are the following: 1) How to spark engage individuals who are not technologically savvy? 2) What type of online learning formats can be introduced in order to engage those individuals who prefer traditional learning, as in, in a classroom setting? And 3) What does the future hold for individuals with a lack of design thinking mindset?
Hargittai, E. (2010). Digital na(t)ives? Variations in internet use and skills among members of the “net generation.” Sociological Inquiry, 80(1), 92-113.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Too Big To Know by David Weinberger
When it comes to online learning, the goal of every participant is to learn to filter information properly, as in, sort by opinions or facts. Likewise, they should be able to analyze the information presented and, to some extent, critique it. However, I disagree with David Weinberger in regards to the stopping point system. When an individual just receives an instant answer to his question from one expert without conducting an in-depth research himself or herself, his understanding of a certain topic is superficial as opposed to reading different sources. Unfortunately, this is a serious issue in modern-day society as people only possess a superficial understanding of topics. In regards to information overload, it can be perceived as people not used to dealing with that much information and do not have an ability to filter it. For instance, decades ago, people did not have any trouble reading a whole book, even though it is “bounded” as a medium of knowledge, in one sitting. However, at present time, people constantly check their smartphones, especially social media messages. I believe that the problem pertains more to peoples’ attention span, as in, they are not used to working with that much information. Also, according to David Weinberger, humans prefer to socialize with people with similar beliefs as theirs? Does he suggest that we are all closed-minded to some degree?
Week 6 (10.12.18) Assignments
The Road Not Taken: The Divergence of Corporate and Academic Web Instruction
For many educational institutions, academic online learning is a solution as there is a limited physical space in the facilities with an increasing number of students. As Ubell (2010) stated, it offers an opportunity for many students to take both online classes and classes on campus, and save time and money on transportation. Furthermore, it adverts conflict with a work schedule as many students work in addition to learning.
Ubell (2010) also mentioned that corporate e-learning encompasses procedural learning while academic online learning focuses on conceptual learning. Nevertheless, there is an increasing number of companies offering accredited degree-granting programs as part of their employee benefits package. Furthermore, academic online learning can also incorporate elements of procedural learning since one of the goals of an academic institution is supposed to be preparing competent workers.
Ubell, R. (2010). The road not taken: The divergence of corporate and academic web instruction. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 14(2), 3-8.
Multiple Modes in Corporate Learning: Propelling Business IQ with Formal, Informal, and Social Learning
One of the trends that fosters the development of modular content is remote workers. Ambrose and Ogilvie (2010) mentioned that online social platforms reduce the sense of isolation. However, the effect is not the same as compared to face-to-face interaction. In regards to the need for different modes of learning, I completely agree, especially with the increasing rate of technological growth. There are higher expectations of learning professionals in the modern day. Although class instruction is the last resort, it might be useful for the older generation of the workforce. I also agree with the assertion that informal learning, to some extent, is more important than formal training in terms of productivity. Specifically, it is more meaningful and applicable and an individual is more likely to retain that information.
In regards to the supply-chain of the multi-modal content, I believe that the expected shelf-life of the content is one of the most important factors, especially in a workplace. Information is updating continuously in many fields and there is a constant innovation. Unfortunately, this is one of the factors that many educational institutions do not consider. In many schools and universities, especially underfunded ones, an outdated information is presented to the students, which might present a problem once they graduate.
Ambrose, J. & Ogilvie, J. (2010). Multiple modes in corporate learning: Propelling business IQ with formal, informal, and social learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 14(2), 9-18.
Can E-Learning Systems Enhance Learning Culture in the Workplace? A Comparison Among Companies in South Korea
A study was conducted by Yoo and Huang (2016), which showed that e-learning systems foster the development of learning organizations in some companies, depending on the their environment. Many companies are adopting new technology in order to increase their productivity and efficiency. Thus, e-learning systems were implemented in order to provide training and share knowledge. One of the factors influence the success of the e-learning systems is the employee’s acceptance of the innovative technology (Yoo & Huang, 2010). In regards to the facilitation of the learning organization, there are companies where each employee has his or her own role and communication is nonexistent. This might be one of the potential reasons for the lack of learning organization. Furthermore, as was mentioned by Yoo and Huang (2016), some companies do not value the importance of e-learning systems, thereby, putting themselves at a disadvantage. One of the questions that can be raised is the following: is the complete development of learning organization applicable to remote workers?
Yoo, S. and Huang, W. (2016). Can e-learning systems enhance learning culture in the workplace? A comparison among companies in South Korea. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(4), 575-591.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Learning on Stack Overflow with Joel Spolsky
Stack Overflow allows people to ask very specific relevant questions or provide high-quality detailed answers to questions regarding topics in computer programming, which is very useful for the learning process, as the capabilities of search engines are limited. As in, it is a Q&A platform for computer programmers. We cannot know everything. Even experts in the field do not know everything. Hence, this platform allows professionals to share knowledge, expertise, and authentic information regarding their industry, and connect. In other words, it is a community of professionals working together in order to enhance productivity. Furthermore, questions and answers are filtered and edited to update and perfect them. There is also the system of voting, points, badges, and tagging questions. Thus, this type of model can be useful in any learning and workplace setting since the information provided in ordinary search engines is not always filtered or authentic.
Week 9 (11.2.18) Assignments
Reflection for All Articles
Adaptive learning enables personalized education by tailoring or modifying instruction or presentation of material to an individual learner, which cannot be accomplished in the traditional educational institution. In other words, it offers a differentiated instruction and assessment, and the student is the center of this approach. Furthermore, it allows educators to monitor data real-time and asses the learner’s progress based on the responses and level of difficulty of questions. Over the years, many adaptive learning systems have emerged, including the Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs). When it comes to the learning process, the “one size fits all” approach is not applicable since learners come from different backgrounds, have different interests, especially in the modern day. Likewise, everyone learns at a different pace. It, to some extent, puts an end to standardized learning approach and lesson plans. Nonetheless, it raises several questions. First, what is the role of the educator in adaptive learning? Second, how can we reduce the probability of errors in adaptive systems to not mislead the learners? Third, by implementing the adaptive systems, will the grading criteria or rubric for courses be revised in educational institutions? Fourth, does it prevent the learner from exploring his or her learning environment? Fifth, how productive is automated feedback in the learning process? Sixth, how to effectively secure the student data collected in adaptive systems?
Lajoie, S. & Poirtras, E. (2017). Crossing disciplinary boundaries to improve technology rich learning environments. Teachers College Record, 119(3), 1-30.
Natriello, G. (2017). The adaptive learning landscape. Teachers College Record, 119(3), 1-46.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Addictive Linking by Peter Brusilovsky
I agree with Zhuqian Zhou that the topic-based adaptation approach is a great idea. It definitely increases the productivity of teaching and makes teachers' lives easier. It was even supported by the results presented by Professor Brusilovsky. Furthermore, it provides an objective view of the growth in students' knowledge. Overall, the fact that adaptive learning system is addictive enables the student to gain knowledge and practice the skill, thereby, reinforcing that knowledge and increasing the students’ success rate. Moreover, the concept of scaffolding is incorporated in the adaptive systems. However, as Professor Brusilovsky mentioned, there are drawbacks to adaptive systems. Specifically, if there is an error in that system and since it is addictive, this may mislead the student. Hence, this may lead to a misconception regarding a topic.
Week 3 (9.20.18) Assignments
Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age
Siemens (2005) mentioned that many individuals change their careers several times over the course of their lifetime as the rate at which knowledge is gained is increasing exponentially. Moreover, many employers stress the importance of career development and continuing education. Thus, one of the goals of educational institutions is to teach students how to acquire knowledge and skills beyond the school walls. In other words, learning theories such as behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism do not address the modern learning processes and concerns. Hence, a new learning theory was introduced, which is called connectivism.
This theory has several implications in regards to education. First, in addition to providing or transferring knowledge, educators are supposed to teach students to create social networks. One way of accomplishing this is assigning students to go on online forums and ask questions regarding the certain topic or blog on platforms such as WordPress. In addition to connecting with their peers, it enables students to connect with professionals, who can share their wisdom, skills, and experiences, and can also provide insight. Likewise, educators can place an emphasis on teamwork. Therefore, since the way we learn and acquire information has changed drastically in the age of technological innovation, it is vital for educational institutions to adopt new learning theories such as connectivism and revise the curriculum address the possible challenges that students may face in the digital age.
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2,
Introduction: The New Science of Learning
According to Sawyer (2014), instructionism is an ineffective vision of schooling in the modern world since it defines learning as memorizing facts and procedures, thereby neglecting creativity and innovation. Consequently, the learning sciences field was introduced, which emphasizes meaningful learning and utilizes a constructivist approach. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of articulation, which promotes metacognition, i.e. reflection (Sawyer, 2014). The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “While we teach, we learn.” First, it makes the learning meaningful and allowing one to develop a deep understanding of concepts. Second, it enables one to organize his or her thoughts, thereby allowing to build meaningful connections between different concepts, i.e. putting this knowledge into perspective. There is a constant reinforcement of knowledge. Moreover, it enables individuals to create social networks by sharing that knowledge, which supports the connectivist theory approach. Thus, when it comes to online learning and networked learning, perhaps, peer online tutoring can be implemented in educational institutions as it will benefit both the learners and the educators.
Sawyer, R. (2014). Introduction: The new science of learning. Pp. 1-20 in The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press.
In the modern world, networks play a significant role in one’s learning whether it is social networks such as peer networks, local networks such as workplaces and postsecondary institutions, or interest networks. I am surprised that consideration is given to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but not to sites such as Reddit, which can also be considered as an interest network. Reddit allows people to create threads based on their interests such as “r/MachineLearning”, “r/drawing”, and “r/datascience”. Individuals can post questions, answers, interesting findings, and discuss or comment. Moreover, many individuals receive the latest news on this platform. Furthermore, Reddit users remain anonymous, which enables open communication and resolves the “exclusion of outsiders” issue to some extent.
When it comes to peer relationships or groups, it is effective only when everyone in a group actively participates. As for Rodan’s (2008) findings that one of the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of learning is “drawing on one’s more knowledgeable contacts” (as cited in Natriello, 2015). I assume that this can be applied to all types of networked learning.
Natriello (2015) mentioned some of the drawbacks of social networks and they are the following: “exclusion of outsiders”, which was mentioned above, “excessive claims made by less diligent members on the more diligent”, which resembles the concept of internet trolls, and “downward-leveling norms in networks where members adopt an oppositional stance toward the mainstream” (p. 341). There is also a possibility of conformity, which was touched upon by Natriello (2015). Furthermore, networked learning puts introverts at a disadvantage. Nonetheless, many postsecondary institutions stress the importance of networking as passive learning is not a path to success.
Natriello, G. (2015). Networked learning. Pp. 337-348 in Handbook of Educational Psychology, APA Division 15. New York: Routledge.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Connectivism by George Siemens
I disagree with Siemens’ claim that structured learning is irrelevant for meaningful learning. The structured learning provides tools or instruments, as in, the foundation needed for other forms of learning. It solely depends on an individual on how he or she makes use of these instruments. However, I agree that it is important to form connections, but they are supposed to be meaningful. Moreover, connections cannot students’ knowledge and skills.
As for the way the courses are structured in many educational institutions, I agree that, indeed, they are not as effective, especially in terms of connectedness. However, there are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which have been founded by George Siemens. Nonetheless, a number of employers do not take them seriously as they prefer a traditional form of education. Hence, it can be said that MOOC can serve as a supplement to the traditional form of education.
Overall, in regards to applying the connectivist theory of learning in the creation of online learning opportunities, the instructors of online courses can place emphasis on the interaction or collaboration between students (e.g. discussion posts and group assignments) as opposed to individual papers.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Video for Learning by Richard Mayer
Mayer stated that learning is caused by instructional method rather than the media. Thus, when it comes to online learning, a multimedia principle should be applied and it should incorporate videos, graphics such as tables, and more in order for students to see a clear picture of the topic. Also, especially if the multimedia supports the information in the textbook, it might enhance the retention of the information. For example, if an instructor decides to post a video of his lecture, is important to adhere to the coherence principle. Otherwise, some students might either get confused or close it without finishing listening to it. However, contiguity principle is not always feasible as some graphics are too complex and might not permit text next to the relevant part of the graphic. As for segmenting principle, it is more effective. For instance, if a student is confused about a certain section, he or she can watch the video containing that section without having to re-watch the whole lecture.
This implies that instructors are supposed to be trained in multimedia instructional design and possess knowledge of these principles and how to efficiently use a video for online learning. Some instructors might be reluctant as it takes time to acquire these skills and to make or search relevant videos. Furthermore, as Mayer mentioned, not all institutions have this technology available since it requires financial resources to hire educational design, cognitive of science learning, and subject matter experts. Moreover, continuous instructors’ training in the use of this technology also requires financial resources. It is also important to note that many students search for videos with explanations of a lecture topic themselves if there is a section in the course material that is unclear to them. Additionally, videos should not replace textbooks or other types of media provided in class. They should only serve as a support to course material and have a purpose. Likewise, as Mayer mentioned, emphasis should be placed on the content rather than production.
Week 10 (11.9.18) Assignments
Reflection for All Articles
There are several aspects of this week’s readings that really struck me. In particular, several authors highlighted that children’s play is shifting online or is becoming more digitalized with the use of “smart toys” and electronic devices such as phones and tablets. Furthermore, many of them incorporate social media. There are even virtual dollhouses such as one described by Wohlwend (2017). Although the Monster High (MH) as a virtual dollhouse is a great idea, unfortunately, children of parents of lower socioeconomic status (SES) cannot really participate. Specifically, they might not be able to afford MH dolls and display their collection online. Hence, they cannot play an active role in discussions centering around MH. Therefore, they cannot promote the MH brand and achieve popularity. I also understand some parents’ hesitance towards their children’s use of digital technologies, which was mentioned in Barron and Levinson (2017). They might want their children to be physically active, learn how to socially interact with others, and read hardcopy books. However, by limiting access to digital technologies, their children might fall behind academically.
As for the students’ use of social media for formal and informal learning, it is certainly a useful resource. As was illustrated by the findings of Blair, Millard, and Woollard (2017), many students use social media for asking their classmates questions regarding their assignments and understanding the concepts. Nonetheless, Dede (2016) stated that some educators want students to “turn off their electronic devices in classrooms” and use only verified sources of information instead of adopting the view and methods of learning of the twenty-first century (p. 4). In regards to students turning off electronic devices, unless the students are doing a class-related task or taking notes on their computer, their electronic devices should be put away. As was noted by several critics, computers in classrooms might be beneficial but they are also a distraction to some extent. On several occasions, I have noticed how, during lectures, students are on websites such as Amazon, chatting with someone, or checking their email. By not paying attention, they might miss important information, which might be useful for their assignments. Thus, I can understand these educators’ point of view.
Barron, B. and Levinson, A. (2017). Media as a catalyst for children’s engagement at home and across settings. Chapter 2 - Pp. 17-36 in Gee, E., Takeuchi, L., and Waertella, E. (eds.). Children and families in the digital age: Learning together in a media saturated culture. New York: Routledge.
Blair, R., Millard, D. and Woollard, J. (2017). Perceptions of school children of using social media for learning. International Journal of E-Learning, 16(2), 105-127.
Dede, C. (2016). Social media and challenges to traditional models of education. Chapter 6 – Pp. 95-112 in Greenhow, C., et al. (Eds.). Education and social media: Challenges to a digital future. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Marsh, J. (2017). The internet of toys: A posthuman and multimodal analysis of connected play. Teachers College Record, 119(12), 1-32.
Ross, D (2007). Backstage with the knowledge boys and girls: Goffman and distributed agency in an organic online community. Organization Studies, 28(3), 307-325.
Wohlwend, K. (2017). Monster high as virtual dollhouse: Tracking play practices across converging transmedia and social media. Teachers College Record, 119(12), 1-20.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Collaboration in Building Wikipedia by Joseph Reagle
It is interesting that one of the policies of Wikipedia is open perspective policy. In other words, Wikipedia users should not be concerned with the validity of the content. The purpose of Wikipedia is to offer multiple perspectives and gather all of the people’s claims. The second aspect is assuming good faith. The main advantage and, at the same time, a challenge of Wikipedia is its openness. As in, anyone can edit the content. Hence, the concept of pending changes would certainly remedy this issue. Nevertheless, it is not considered an authentic source of information. However, it provides ideas or areas which one might want to research in-depth and links from which the information was retrieved.
Although open content communities and consensus decision-making are controversial, they can be considered an alternative to traditional teaching methods and are more effective in a modern day. They enable individuals to share their knowledge and resources with others, regardless of their background. One can conclude that any information is biased, including one that presented in educational institutions since it stems from some idea or belief, which is then researched. Nonetheless, can we really assume good faith in open content communities?
Project 4 (The Knowledge Thieves)
The Online Learning Opportunity
Week 11 (11.15.18) Assignments
Reflection for All Articles
As I was reading this week’s articles, I was surprised by Cho’s (2016) findings that the school administrator’s tweets were not related to their profession. It reminds of situations when students meet up to work on a project or assignment and their discussions are anything but project-related. This shows that both professionals and students might be confused about the purpose of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). It might be more efficient if the learning network is not as vast such as the one used in the study conducted by Tour (2017). This enables both learners and educators to make the exchange of knowledge and advice more meaningful. As Dabbagh and Kitsansis (2012) stated, when it comes to Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and social media, motivation and self-regulation are the vital components. Thus, this might be problematic for younger students, who are still developing these skills. Dabbagh and Kitsansis (2012) also mentioned that some educators require students to use blogging platforms such as Wordpress. During my years as an undergraduate student, two of my former professors required an e-portfolio on Wordpress. Furthermore, one professor required students to comment on each other’s blogs, which is quite similar to the requirement of this course. Nonetheless, I noticed that the students usually just commented on the blogs of the same several individuals in the class week after week, which is not as productive.
Attwell, G. (2009). The social impact of personal learning environments. In S. Wheeler (ed.). Connected minds, emerging cultures: Cybercultures in online learning. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Pp. 119-138.
Cho, V. (2016). Administrators’ professional learning via Twitter: The dissonance between beliefs and actions. Journal of Educational Administration, 54(3), 340-356.
Dabbagh, N. and Kitsansis, A. (2012). Personal learning environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 3-8.
Ringle, S., Silvestri, K., Loomis, S. O’Byrne, W. and Kist, W. (2017). Mentored open online communities (MooCs) as a third space for teaching and learning in higher education. Chapter 10, pp. 137-150 in R. Bennett and M. Kent (Eds.), Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education. New York: Routledge.
Scarmozzino, E., Corvello, V., and Grimialdi, M. (2017). Entrepreneurial learning through online social networking in high-tech startups. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 23(3), 406-425.
Tour, E. (2017). Teachers’s self-initiated professional learning through Personal Learning Networks. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 26(2), 179-192.
(Vialogue) Discussion of Learning Networks by Will Richardson
I agree with Will Richardson that test preparation is not equivalent to education. Unfortunately, many teachers are just preparing students for tests as opposed to sharing knowledge and preparing them for the future. Nonetheless, in regards to learning networks, they certainly can advance one’s skills and clear any misconceptions but they cannot replace teachers. In the first example with the piano, the student already had taken lessons and has some background. However, the example with the cinemaphotographer is not the best example as he apprenticed with professionals. Thus, we cannot assume that he learned cinemaphotography solely based on the learning networks. The following question can be raised: what if the information presented in the learning networks contradicts information presented in class on a certain topic? Also, what if the information provided one participant of the learning network contradicts the information provided by another participant? This might confuse the learner. Hence, learning networks can only serve as a supplement to instruction for students in educational institutions.
The Final Reflection Paper
Networked and Online Learning Opportunities: Data
Networked and Online Learning Opportunities: Data
We are living in times of “Big Data”, where the online activity and data of Web users are tracked continuously. This has led to the rise in the fields of Learning Analytics (LA) and Educational Data Mining (EDM) in online learning environments. Hence, with the development of new networked and online learning opportunities, there is an increase in data tracking and collection. This data trail reveals a great deal about the learners’ behavior, performance, and interests. However, many questions arise such as how can this data be collected and stored, how it can be used, how it can be analyzed, and how it can be protected? Moreover, many ethical issues emerge including data privacy and surveillance, data misuse, data constituency, and data security.
When it comes to the data collection of the networked and online learning opportunities, the data will be collected regardless of the learners’ consent. This, to some extent, may potentially undermine the student-centered approach since students do not have an opportunity to opt out of their data being collected. Moreover, students are not aware of which data is collected and how it is utilized. Specifically, educators, administrators of the educational institution, and other stakeholders have an opportunity to see how many times the learners visited the sites, when they visited these sites, how much time they spent on these sites, and when they have submitted their work. However, not only the learner’ site activities are tracked but also which websites they visit while logged on. Thus, although educators are presented with an opportunity to examine the study habits and trends of their students, many individuals may view this as a violation of privacy. According to Prinsloo and Slade (2017), “Students appeared largely unaware of the extent to which was already actively collected and used, and they raised a number of concerns. The major concern related to the potential to actively consent (or not), with a majority of students expressing a wish for a right to opt out” (p. 51). In other words, many students are not comfortable with the idea of data with their activity being tracked and stored. However, if students would have been presented with an opportunity to opt out of their data being tracked and collected, this would pose a problem to the educators, administrators of the educational institution, stakeholders, and, most importantly, the researchers. Specifically, the analysis, results of the analysis, and the predictive models would have been invalid since the analysts would see the full picture of the learners’ performance and behavior.
There is also a question of data analysis of these networked and online learning opportunities. There are different methods used in analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. For instance, educational data can be analyzed with the use of data mining, which reflects machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. It includes predictive modeling, clustering, social network analysis, and more. Also, statistical analysis can be conducted such as regression analysis and Bayesian analysis. However, analysts may face some challenges when analyzing educational data. First, one of the difficulties that the analysts may face is that the not all elements of the learner’s behavior are quantified, including the social aspects and activities (Siemens, 2013). Moreover, some critics believe that quantitative data does not take into consideration the diversity of the students’ identities, abilities, and experiences, including prior experiences (Scott & Nichols, 2017). Another challenge in regards to data analysis is data synchronicity as there are instances when it can be difficult to synchronize different data streams from various sensors. The other challenge that the analysts may face is data fusion. In particular, one of the tasks of data analysts is to figure out how to blend data and convert it into a proper format for analysis. It is important to note that data cleaning and wrangling is a time-consuming process and is usually the first step in data analysis. Likewise, missing data and outliers might present a problem in the process of data analysis.
However, one of the main issues in regards to the online learning opportunities is the violation of ethical principles. As in, there is a concern for data privacy and surveillance, data misuse, data constituency, and data security. The first ethical issue is data privacy and surveillance. Not only do the educators have access to the students’ data but also the administrators of educational institutions, and other stakeholders. In other words, the learners’ activity is transparent. Therefore, many educational institutions are in a process of developing student data protocols and enforcing data privacy policies in order to resolve the issue of the student data privacy to some degree (Abilock & Abilock, 2016). Moreover, according to Greller and Drachsler, (2012), “Even when in compliance with the law, educational data can easily be abused for purposes inappropriate for educational institutions or for the data subjects (especially where minors are concerned)” (p. 51). This means that learners might also be concerned with the purpose of the stakeholders and researchers using their data, which is supposed to be used for enhancing the learners’ performance and experience. Another ethical issue is data constituency, where the results of algorithmic analysis and statistical predictions may lead to uniformity of the learning process and do not account for outliers (Greller & Drachsler, 2012). This is to say that statistical predictions can only predict the average behavior (Greller & Drachsler, 2012).
The other main ethical issue of the networked and online learning opportunities is the security of the users’ data. First and foremost, data security cannot be guaranteed in the modern world of technological advancements. With the increase in the number of data breaches in the last few years, online learning environment platforms are concerned with the data security of their users. There are three following types of data breaches: hacking, physical theft, and third-party vendors (Beaudin, 2017). Educational institutions are especially alarmed since data breaches have legal implications, including the violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). One possible solution of resolving this issue is choosing a trusted third-party vendor (Beaudin, 2017). The other possible solutions are to provide training for employees on the risk of hacking and malware, raise awareness regarding phishing emails, and properly maintain electronic devices with the users’ data (Beaudin, 2017).
The issues of data analysis mentioned above also pertain to the online manual of the Smith Learning Theater created on Rhizr for the fourth project of the Networked and Online Learning course. Quantitative and qualitative analysis can be performed on the data gathered in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the manual and the use of the theater for class sessions in order to see if there is a significant difference in the learning experience. Moreover, algorithms can be created to predict the future learning experience. Furthermore, data on prior class session will be used to which areas to improve on for subsequent class sessions. As in, the survey responses regarding the students’ and instructors’ satisfaction and the data gathered from the tracking sensors, which can be installed at the Smith Learning Center to see how many students attend the Smith Learning Theater, can be used. Likewise, the number of class sessions each instructor conducts at the theater and what technological resources he or she is using can be analyzed. Furthermore, qualitative analysis can be conducted based on the feedback of the educators and the learners. However, it is important to note that there might be missing data in the analysis. Nonetheless, social network analysis and cluster analysis can be performed based on the discussions can take place directly on the Rhizr root, Vialogues, Pressible, and social media platforms such as Twitter.
Nonetheless, ethical issues still remain unresolved in regards to this learning opportunity. Specifically, there will be tracking of both students’ and educators’ data regardless of their consent. Also, the issues of data security, data constituency, and data misuse that were described above also apply to Rhizr. Third, the EdLab team of Teachers College at Columbia University has access to this data. Hence, the issue of data privacy and surveillance is also applicable to this online manual.
Notwithstanding, although a great amount of data is collected daily, many researchers and stakeholders are still trying to decide ways in which it can serve a useful purpose. Likewise, there is an emphasis on data-driven decisions in the modern world. Thus, many fields, including the field of education, use data to enhance productivity and efficiency. Moreover, online learning environments such as Rhizr only enable the data tracking of the learners’ behavior and performance. It enables educators to take preventive measures by intervening if the learner has a low performance in a course. It also contributed to the ongoing development of adaptive learning systems, where the course instruction is tailored to the learner’s needs. However, ethical issues, especially data privacy, data misuse, data constituency, and data security, remain in place and yet have to be resolved.
Abilock, R., & Abilock, D. (2016). i agree, but do i KNOW? PRIVACY AND STUDENT DATA. Knowledge Quest, 44(4), 10.
Beaudin, K. (2017). The legal implications of storing student data: Preparing for and responding to data breaches. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2016(172), 37-48. doi:10.1002/ir.20202
Greller, W., & Drachsler, H. (2012). Translating Learning into Numbers: A Generic Framework for Learning Analytics. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(3), 42–57.
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