Friday, February 21, 2014

CHE: Harvard and MIT Release Visualization Tools for Trove of MOOC Data

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Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have released a set of open-source visualization tools for working with a rich trove of data from more than a million people registered for 17 of the two institutions’ massive open online courses, which are offered through their edX platform.

The tools let users see and work with “near real-time” information about course registrants—minus personally identifying details—from 193 countries. A Harvard news release says the tools “showcase the potential promise” of data generated by MOOCs. The aggregated data sets that the tools use can be also downloaded.

The suite of tools, named Insights, was created by Sergiy Nesterko, a research fellow in HarvardX, the university’s instructional-technology office, and Daniel Seaton, a postdoctoral research fellow at MIT’s Office of Digital Learning. Mr. Nesterko said the tools “can help to guide instruction while courses are running and deepen our understanding of the impact of courses after they are complete.”


Source and Link To Tools Available At:


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Inside Higher Education: The iPhone and the MOOC

February 12, 2014 - 9:00pm  / Joshua Kim

I’ve discovered the secret (sort of) for getting through a MOOC (mostly). Don’t use a computer.

In my vast experimenting in the open online education field (an N of 1 - namely me), I’ve found that I significantly more likely to make it through a MOOC if I consume the course materials via my iPhone.

Why forgo the power of the keyboard and the pleasure of a large screen when accessing the latest and greatest in open online learning?  3 reasons:

1. Multitasking:

 Whoever said that multitasking is a myth has never witnessed me MOOC (can I use it as a verb?) while running (slowly) on my treadmill. My iPhone sits on that little treadmill shelf. My laptop not so much.

 The big problem with MOOCs is that they do not come with an extra hour in our day. Maybe MOOCs should be bundled with caffeine pills. The reality is that the only way that I’m going to MOOC is if I can do so while doing something else. Joining the open online learning movement while driving seems like a bad idea (I’d get distracted from the curriculum), exercising seems like the only part of my day that is a candidate for new MOOC time.  

2. Not Multitasking:

The other great advantage of logging into my MOOCs on my iPhone is that the iPhone is lousy at switching between tasks. What a great feature.  

 With my laptop the lure of e-mail is a click away. I wish that my fancy MacBook Air was something more than an e-mail appliance (you’ve got mail - always - answer it!), but that is the sad fact of life. 

I’ll stay with one thing on an iPhone for 30 minutes. Try that on your computer.

3. Consuming: 

 The final reason why I’m migrating to solely MOOCing on my iPhone is that I’m really bad at MOOCS. Mostly I only want to watch the videos (at 1.5 speed).The forums don’t hold all that much interest.  The assignments - forget about it.

At some point we will all realize that open online education is like Twitter. Dip in the stream when you are so moved. Stop feeling guilty. Sign up promiscuously and graze as the mood strikes. 

The people who learn the most from MOOCs will be the people who teach (and help create) the MOOCs. We will learn many many wonderful things. 

Those on the other end of the (sometimes small screen) should not feel so much pressure.

How do you MOOC?

Source Available At:


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Web Course > Bringing Library Services to Mobile Devices > March 3-29 2014

Instructor: Scott La Counte /  Dates: March 3-29, 2014 / Credits: 1.5 CEUs  / Price: $175

It is estimated that 1 out of 4 people own a Smartphones (i.e. phones classified as having Internet access like iPhones, Windows Phones, and Android Phones); every year, more patrons are demanding libraries bring their services to the gadgets they love. Upon completion of this four week course, you will better understand the best (and cheapest) ways to bring your library services to mobile devices, from smartphones to eReaders and tablets. We will also discuss the best ways to make sure your library’s homepage fits onto phones of any size, and look into practical solutions for creating both web apps and native iPhone / Android apps.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the difference between mobile apps and native apps and the importance they play in libraries
  • Recognize the best mobile services for your library and budget
  • Develop a plan of action for training staff and patrons to use new services
  • Hear from other librarians about what they have already implemented into their library with regard to mobile services
  • Discuss current trends in technology and how they might change what libraries offer in the future
Scott La Counte is the head librarian for the Southern California Institute of Technology. Scott holds a BA in Comparative Religion and English Literature from Cal State Fullerton, and an MLIS from San Jose State University. He has given presentations on mobile application development at several different conferences, and is the author of Going Mobile: Developing Apps for Your Library Using Basic HTML Programming (ALA Editions Special Reports, 2011), Build Your Own App for Fun and Profit (Huron Street Press, 2012), and Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian (Da Capo Press, 2008).

Course Structure 

 This is an online class that is taught asynchronously, meaning that participants do the work on their own time as their schedules allow. The class does not meet together at any particular times, although the instructor may set up optional sychronous chat sessions. Instruction includes readings and assignments in one-week segments. Class participation is in an online forum environment.

Source and Registration Link Available: