People are still digesting the news about Blackboard's acquisition of Moodle. Here is an interesting view from Audrey Watters at Inside Higher Ed. I happen to agree that LMS providers could gain access to very significant data that many in the education supply chain would find useful and worth paying for (IHEd):
But I think the value's elsewhere. Or rather the value is in the customer, but not in terms of licenses or sign-ups or enrollment numbers per se. I think the value's in the data:
What are students reading? What are they buying at the bookstore? What are they checking out of the library? How much time are they spending on course materials? How often do they interact with other students? What does that interaction entail? How often do they interact with faculty? What does that interaction entail? How do students respond to feedback? How's attendance? How are grades -- not just at the end of the term, but in an ongoing and real-time basis? What classes do students want to take? What classes should they take? What classes should the university offer? Can it build a recommendation engine to help make suggestions to students? What faculty should it hire? And what are those faculty doing?
These are the sorts of questions that big data promises to answer for universities, as well as (I'd hope) for leaners. That's both a frightening and a thrilling prospect, I think, when we consider its implications. But learning analytics is still a largely open field right now, I'd say, even though there are pockets of early incumbants: companies who've built adaptive engines, companies who hold massive amounts of user data, companies who sell products and services to universities/professors/students.
Ever think of taking the SAT over again? Me either, but Drew Magary at Deadspin thought he would give it a try and hilarity ensues. Parents, this is what you are putting your kids through. (Deadspin)
I mean seriously, HOLY FUCK. My mind exploded when I looked at this. You may as well have asked me to climb Everest using a fork. It took me five minutes just to try to understand the QUESTION. Once I had figured it out, time was up. I finished most of the verbal sections of the test under the time allotted. I had no such luck with the math sections. Even when I got the question right, the mental strain it took to try and dig through the piles of shit-encrusted mildew in my brain to retrieve the information needed to solve any given equation was brutal. How do you divide fractions again? Don't you flip the top number and the bottom number or something? And what's the top number called? The Ruminator? The Kilometer? OH FUCK IT.This year's Booker came under fire for being too low brow and this post on a scifi award shows that complaining about book award efforts is alive and well, but that hasn't stopped the Observer from launching a new award program to name the best book from 1962. Why? Well, just because it was 50 years ago which I don't need reminding (Observer).
Many times, I had to skip a question because I couldn't figure out the answer, and then I got that paranoia that's unique to someone taking a standardized test. I became fearful that I had failed to skip over the question on my answer sheet. So every five seconds, I'd double-check my sheet to make sure I didn't fill out my answers in the wrong slots. One time I did this, and so I had to erase the answers and move them all forward. Only I had a shitty eraser, which failed to erase my mark and instead smeared the mark all over the rest of my sheet. FUCK YOU, TRICK ERASER. I HATE YOU.
The Observer is sponsoring a new annual prize to decide which book of ideas from the crop published 50 years ago has had the most lasting influence on society's thinking. So, taking the class of 1962, the Bristol festival's Best Book of Ideas prize will come from this shortlist of 10:
1) Another Country James Baldwin
2) Capitalism and Freedom Milton Friedman
3) A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
4) Day (originally published as The Accident) Elie Wiesel
5) My Land and My People: The Original Autobiography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet Dalai Lama XIV
6) The Other America Michael Harrington
7) Sex and the Single Girl Helen Gurley Brown
8) Silent Spring Rachel Carson
9) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas S Kuhn
10) Toward a Psychology of Being Abraham Harold Maslow
The winner, chosen by the festival board, will be announced on 21 May.Speaking of which, Christopher Hitchens is one of 18 authors selected for the Orwell Prize for political writing.(Telegraph)
Blackboard's Open Source Pivot | Inside Higher Ed: InsideHigherEd No one really knows what to make of it.
Presentation from BlackBoard User meeting on important trends impacting Higher Ed Catalano
Great Potter round-up from Porter Anderson JaneFriedman
Bertelsmann Weighs I.P.O. For Expansion NYTimes
BBC News - Amazon boss Jeff Bezos 'finds Apollo 11 Moon engines' BBCNews And they weren't in his warehouse.
UK Publishers Assoc Outraged It Wasn't Consulted Ahead Of The Public Over Open Access To Publicly-Funded Research Techdirt