First published in Campus Morning Mail 8th Feb 2022
Course Hero, Ed-Tech Company, Hires Ed-Tech Critic from Inside Higher Ed
Ed Tech Twitter has been, well, all atwitter in the last week over the news that Sean Michael Morris, a notable in the digital pedagogy field, has taken a job at Course Hero. Course Hero describes itself as “an online learning platform for course-specific study resources”. Other people are less charitable in their descriptions, raising concerns about academic integrity, abuse of IP and monetisation of student data. (See the next post). Much of the discussion has centred around whether a well-intentioned academic can affect meaningful ethical change in a $3.6B ed tech megalith. Personally, I have my doubts but would be delighted to be proven wrong.
We don’t need another hero from Medium
Karen Costa is another well-regarded expert in faculty (academic) development with some strong opinions about education technology ethics, Course Hero and their business model. This detailed piece explores how people use this platform, learner agency and power relationships.
Implementing H5P Online Interactive Activities at Scale from Chen et al. (ASCILITE 2021)
Interactive HTML5 resources have exploded in education in recent years, particularly since the drawn-out demise of Flash. Among tools supporting the creation of these, H5P reigns supreme. It is user-friendly and offers a rich set of activity options. This paper from last year’s ASCILITE conference describes the holistic process Victoria University went through to roll this tool out at an institutional level. Most ed tech research focuses on local interventions, so this offers invaluable insights into the big picture thinking required to ensure that a technology can be used successfully and sustainably at scale.
Get rid of the green buttons. It’s pure manipulation from Dataethics.eu
I’ve shared stories here before about Dark Patterns in website design, the use of psychological tricks to influence user behaviour. This includes things like making one button green and the other (less desired) button look greyed out. The EU has long been a champion of Internet user rights, creating the General Data Protection Regulation in 2016 which dramatically shifted online privacy rights. With the recent passing of the Digital Service Act, they have effectively banned these kinds of questionable design approaches. This article is well worth a read.
At some point, everyone working in or with education technology needs to create a detailed set of instructions for some computer-based activity. In the last week or so I’ve been playing with a Google Chrome plugin called Tango which essentially lets you record a process, taking screenshots and creating basic descriptive text for each step along the way. After some judicious editing, this can then output to PDF or a webpage like the one I’ve shared about how to use Tango. (How very meta). I think it has some promise.