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If you want to preserve a global perspective on this, you might look at Haklev's dissertation on OCW in China, which is a fascinating study of how different cultural assumptions shaped the type of openness they got: I'm excited to read this book, and hope you write it!
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2013 on The Battle for Open at The Ed Techie
Also, possibly, MOOCs as support and community around traditional classes? Some portion of students from various sections of Bio 101 across the country become part of a Bio 101 MOOC that helps them supplement what they are getting in the classroom, or perhaps provides a degree of support for students for which the level of challenge is too high or too low.
I think the thing I see get lost in these conversations the most is that the major cost of education is not tuition, but time. Tuition is the way, in fact, that you protect that time investment in study. Tuition protects the investment in two ways. One: it provides support, classes, access to professors, libraries, etc. And secondly, it guarantees that that time ends up in a credential that gets them what they want out of the study. My point is that nobody really wants a free education -- they want an education that balances protection of their time investment with cost. Our cost is, in fact, nearing the limit of what is feasible for a number of reasons you mention, but it bothers me that Shirky uses a metaphor that doesn't account for sunk time cost to students. A better metaphor might be studio recording -- I've written a song, practiced it, and now would like to present it best I can. So that has changed over the past several years -- there's now a lot of options to get software and produce your music yourself. But to the extent the music means something to me and I have disposable income, I am not going to choose the cheapest option -- I'm going to balance these two things. I'll either buy moderately expensive recording equipment, or get someone to do the master, etc. It's not like an MP3 at all, or a book, or anything, because I have skin in the game...
One of my favorite books, and one of my favorite subjects. I got so interested in this subject I actually wrote a free textbook about it. The model we use in my statistical literacy class is called COMPARABLE and the basic outline is here: Under that framework: * Your question one is an "R" question (could this be nothingn but randomness at play?) * Your Question 2 is an O/L question (How were the variables defined/operationalized? and, Could a longitudinal analysis tell us more?) * Your question three is an "A1" question (What was accounted for/controlled for?) * Your question four is another "O" question (or maybe an "A2" -- What alternative measures can we think of that represent the same issue? Do they tell the same story as the measures chosen, or a different one?) Check out the link, I think you will like it. In any case, there are multiple reasons I got into teaching this, but one is the non-critical way that people deal with edtech. I'm a proponent of analytics, for instance, but I see time and time again that people put up a slide on Purdue's Course Signals project, and uncritically state a headline increase in retention. But a short dive into Purdue's own data shows that the bulk of retention increase had nothing to do with Course Signals at was an across the board increase... "Digital Natives" are also a great example. Do they use technology in a slightly more social pattern than adults because they are a different generation? Or could it be that all generations, when younger, use technology more socially (thinking of my youth and the time my sister spent on the telephone). Could it be that they use facebook more than twitter, not out of a generational preference, but because facebook serves the needs of a young person, and twitter serves the needs of a professional more? Etc. etc.
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Sep 5, 2012