Archive for August, 2012

Cal State Univiersity outsources online ed to Pearson (and perhaps undermines its own brand?)

Monday, August 27th, 2012

California State University Selects Pearson to Launch Cal State Online

This sort of thing has been coming for a while, in fact at a unit level you could say it is already occurring to some extent. Given the heavy internal emphasis on research output in HE it makes sense for academics to leverage the available teaching resources.   The big publishers know this and provide a range of additional material.

There are certainly lecturers out there in the wide world who rely on the publishers to provide their lecture slides, and tutorial questions (and therefore pretty much the exam questions).   There is also a strong temptation to use the publisher’s quiz platforms to manage and record marks.   Something QA and standards people need to vigilant about.

At a local level it’s a minor problem, nothing that can’t be fixed with a bit of communication and common sense.

For a university to do it to itself strikes me as a gamble.  Lower overheads vs loss of in house expertise, loss of IP, loss of market differentiation.  Obviously the devil’s in the detail, but I think there is a risk of undercutting their own brand.

The evolution of Pearson’s business model continues to be interesting to watch.

Have a read of Tony Bates comments

Weekend Funny – Ten funniest jokes at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

Saturday, August 25th, 2012


A bit about performance analytics and dashboards.

Monday, August 20th, 2012

There has been a lot of buzz about student analytics, i.e. pulling student progress data out of  LMSs like Blackboard or Moodle.

Rio Salado College has gained a bit of attention with their PACE system and Phillp Dawson here at Monash is looking at how we can use Moodle to assess engagement and identify  and a risk students.

What is generally being proposed is some kind of dashboard.  Dashboards provide a way to present relevant information in a way that make immediate sense.

For those struggling with the concept, here’s a research focused analytics dashboard.


If you want to get involved with this go to

“Academics use to share their research, monitor deep analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow. 1,745,076 academics have signed up to, adding 1,512,828 papers and 527,736 research interests. attracts over 3.9 million unique visitors a month.”

“’s Analytics Dashboard… allows an academic to understand in sophisticated detail how their research is being used by the academic community. It shows them countries that are sending them the most traffic, search engines and other sites that are sending them the most traffic, and overall profile views and document views.”

For more detail have a look here

Throw away your mouse and grab your Yucca

Friday, August 17th, 2012

BOTANICUS INTERACTICUS”: Interactive Plant Technology

botanicus interactive

Something to pass onto our students doing presentations

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Ze Frank is a unique, international treasure and if you want to see what creativity looks like check out his site.

If part of your unit assessment is a presentation add this to your list of resources.

How to Public Speaking

ze frank

Moodle 2.3 – see the goodies

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

layout video

When do you become an adult? – Somewhere between 18 and 29

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

According to a survey done at Clark university 18-29  is the “’emerging adult” period.

What are the 2 biggest factors? Accepting responsibility for yourself and becoming financially independent.

Basically getting a job and moving out of home.

It does highlight a known issue.  Our education system assumes, based on notions of age, that students will have predetermined, uniform levels of personal responsibility and accountability.  We know that’s not case.

Perhaps we need to extend the idea of K-12 to be K-16.  University teaching should perhaps be an extension of more pedagogically based secondary school approaches rather than a sudden shift to the factory model, which our students aren’t ready for.

Innovating Pedagogy Report

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The UK Open University has released its first an Innovations report,  Innovating Pedagogy.

It certainly appears to more up to date and relevant than the last Horizon Report.

“The first report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education. “

Assessment for learning
Badges to accredit learning
Learning analytics
New pedagogy for e-books
Personal inquiry learning
Publisher led mini-courses
Rebirth of academic publishing
Rhizomatic learning
Seamless learning

I found this on Stephen Downes Blog who got it from Grahem Attwell at It’s a bit of a rambling site but worth an explore.