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Author Archives: textbookfair

Moving Forward from E-Learning to M-Learning

After reading the title, most of you probably will ask what is M-Learning?! Here refers to Tablet-Learning, such as using Apple Ipad for learning purposes. With the exponentially increase in the follow-up products of tablet-PC from other big brands like Samsung, Sony etc. More and more educational organisations are seeing the trend of tablet-learning, and thinking of making a shift from E-learning to Tablet-learning. In the news article ‘Converting E-learning To Tablet Learning: Cost-effective Solutions’ published yesterday, it said considering Tablet Learning as a form of M-learning, ‘there is often a degree of hesitation to make the switch, perhaps brought on by typical myths associated with Mobile Learning’. How difficult to make Tablet Leaning available? The news article refers to several approaches to e-content conversion for tablet-learnig:

1. Flash Course

For HTML output

 For Native Apps

2. Captivate Course

3. Articulate Course

You can click on the hyperlinked text with colour if you are interested in the detailed information of how to convert E-learning content into tablet-content.

Here, more importantly, is tablet learning really cost-effective considering the use of tablet devices? What are the challenges of making tablet devices available for every needy student? How to increase the compatibility of digitised learning material on tablet devices? Since not every student can afford a tablet device, or not every educational institution can manage the tablet-learning space, is the shift from E-learning to Tablet Learning limited by the affordability of students and affordances of educational institutions?

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337

 

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Revolution of Higher Education-Free Online Courses?

This morning I read a news article titled “How Australian universities can play in the MOOCs market”. It talks about the changing trend of tertiary education, and the potential revolution of higher education with the growing popularity and leverage of online courses. Particularly, it briefly analyses through the online courses from Australian universities as a new group in the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  In this post, I will respond to the leading question of the news article – “The billion dollar question for Australian universities is: how can we compete with the world’s most prestigious institutions in the MOOC space? On a comprehensive scale, maybe we can’t”.

Why we can’t? We can think the other way, better way. How about join all the online courses for higher education worldwide together? Why we have to compete with other prestigious institutions in the MOOC space? Competitions between online courses from various institutions make no benefit for the students’ learning outcome. The more efficient way for studying is to merge all online institutions together, possibly on one site with different categories. In that case, students worldwide are able to select and learn the same subject across various teaching strategies and a wider range of learning resources from different online institutions. More importantly, the marriage of different online institutions enables a massive global discussion forum about various courses from different institutions. As a result, it facilitates learning process by massive collaboration.

For Textbook Fair campaign, I have the idea of combining the learning materials used in the MOOC with the ones required for on-campus learning. If so, students don’t have to buy expensive textbooks if similar learning materials are available in the MOOC. Then we have an interesting question for you – do we need campus for universities any more?

Let’s watch the video and see how Australian professionals respond to it?

Internet to Replace Campuses

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337

 

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Textbook Rebellion – From $120 To $20

LAW student, BUSINESS student, BIOLOGY student, ENGINEERING student… Have you ever complained about the ridiculously priced textbooks while looking for the proper textbooks with your mobile phone ready in front of a wall of used-textbooks-selling ads at university? Have the F-word ever been around your mind while the seller bring the textbook and you find out the textbook was an old edition? -Then you have to say sorry to the seller and start over the calling process again. Usually, the result is that you can’t find any used textbooks in the new edition that you want. Eventually you have to go to the bookstore and F*cking all the way to buy the new edition textbook in the original price.

What a F*ck! Unfair, Isn’t it?!!

Let’s have a look a short price list of the textbooks used by a friend of mine in one semester, majoring in commerce at University of Sydney —Co-op price:

FINC3020-$115

FINC3012-$107

FINC3017-125.5

FINC2012-154.95

IS Co-op trying to rob the students?

Hopefully, every cloud has a silver lining—

Advances in Open Textbook Publishing Technology

Advances in web technologies have made it possible to democratize the production of open, reusable, remixable textbooks without sacrificing quality. The panelists will actively demonstrate three advances made possible by new web technologies: 1. User-friendly authoring tools that make it easy to produce and adapt remixable open textbooks; 2. An innovative production pipeline that enables beautiful and engaging textbook content to be distributed seamlessly to any student on any device in many formats; 3. New interactive content visualizations that enable students to interact with their books, explore rich data sets without downloading specialized tools, and view beautiful figures in printed media without additional work. The panel will explore examples from Connexions, Siyavula, American Institute of Mathematics, Booktype, P2PU, Quadbase, and FullMarks.

Questions Answered

  1. How do you make creating, sharing, and remixing open textbooks easy, without sacrificing quality?
  2. How do you produce beautiful and engaging textbook content and distribute it to any student on any device in many formats?
  3. How will future textbooks engage students by taking advantage of new web technology and new connections between OER from many providers?
 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337

 

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Open Science – Massive Sharing & Collaboration

Are you willing to publicly share online the findings of your project spending months or years of time to complete with others study in the related field or similar interest for further development? If your answer is yes, then that is pretty much what open science tries to achieve – sharing data online for massive collaboration. Platforms for open science have been gradually emerging, such as ResearchGate and social network for scientific community like LabSpaces.net and Scitable. However, issues around whether open science tends to lead low quality research outcome or simply be a short cut for people who need grant project needs great concerns (Pisani 2011).

In 2009, one of the world most renowned mathematician and also a professor in Cambridge University, Timothy Gowers, used his blog to post a striking question: Is massive collaborative mathematics possible? He was actually proposing to use his blog to tackle an unsolved mathematical problem. He issued an open invitation inviting anybody in the world if they think they had an idea to post in the common section of the blog. Initially, there was no reply; gradually, more and more people replied; finally, the mathematical problem had been solved.  His thought was by combing the ideas of many minds, he can make the easy work of the mathematical problem – he called the method the ‘Polymath Project’ (Nielsen 2009). The idea of ‘Polymath Project’ (Gowers 2009) implies that we can use Internet to build tools that actually expand our ability to solve the most challenging intellectual problems. We can actively build tools that amplify our collective intelligence is similar to using physical tools to amplify our strength.

However, open science debate held in Oxford University on the 29th February 2012 points out some real problems of open science that worth thinking for its further development. Problems of open science inter-connect with each other, such as quality, credibility and economic barriers. The representative of nature brand journal underlines in the video clip that the inevitable ‘pay model’ is mainly because the rejection rate of nature brand journals is as high as 90% each year. It implies that it is necessary for the full-time editorial staffs to guarantee the quality of the published journals. The representative emphasizes the high price of these editorial staffs. It is unfair for the public to consume the great effort made by the editors for free. So it seems to be a highly challenging goal for the complete open science. More content regarding open science debate can be found in the video clip below:

So we can see the power of open science/resources for massive collaboration, however, which model can replace or improve the traditional ‘pay model’ of quality journal publisher to make open educational resources available for university students?

 Relevant Links:

Evolution of Science: Open Science and the Future of Publishing, Youtube, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yELZ3kbFj1w&gt;.

Gowers, T 2009, wordpress, http://gowers.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/is-massively-collaborative-mathematics-possible/

Nielsen, M 2009, blog, “The Polymath project: scope of participation”

Pisani, E 2011, ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’, The Guardian, January 11, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing>

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337

 

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CHALLENGE – University Funding V.S. OERs

“Australia’s universities, like its wine, are decent and dependable, but seldom excellent.”

So said The Economist magazine, in a piece published online.

-Do you feel uncomfortable or even get angry about the quote?

Two solutions:

1. Follow the link to see the response from Australian tertiary education experts.

Are Australian universities “seldom excellent”? The experts respond

One Highlighted Response: Professor Simon Marginson, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne.

“It’s absolutely spot on. It’s a really good piece. I hope a lot of people read it.  Australia spends less in public funding on universities than almost every other country in the OECD. Australia spends 0.7% of GDP and the OECD average is 1.1% of GDP…”

2. Let’s unveil the TRUTH…

Higher Education Support Act 2003 

The Australian higher education system is seen to make a fundamental contribution to the future of Australia and plays a vital role in Australia’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social development. The higher education sector educates our future professional workforce, creates future leaders, provides jobs for Australians, drives much of our economic and regional success, and facilitates cultural and trade links with other countries. The sector plays a key role in the growing knowledge and innovation based economic health of Australia. It enriches our social and environmental landscape and promotes the tolerance debate that underpins Australian society.

However, Australian government cannot see “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”(Benjamin Franklin). Instead, have a look how the Federal Government plans to spend your money in 2012-13 following the link to the INTERACTIVE graphic and table below.

Interactive: Budget 2012, how it’s spent

After seeing the interactive graphic and table, for those who do not know much about Australian education funding must be shocked with a total budget of $29.6 billion on education, particularly with $8.9 billion for Higher Education and $4.1 billion for student assistance.

Australian higher education is crying for funding for research, infrastructure and a whole rage of support by the federal government. Ridiculously the Queen may still enjoy her Diamond Jubilee…

The Queen’s Cost – Do we really need a figurehead waving at us?

Australian academia cannot stand Royalists…

For those unclear:

“The Parliament consists of the Queen, represented by the Governor-General, and two Houses—the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Parliament also authorises the Executive Government (often simply called the Government or the Executive) to spend public money by agreeing to government proposals for expenditure and taxation, scrutinises the administrative actions of the Government and serves as a forum for the debate of public policy.”   – PARLIAMENT of Australia

Waste of money – Is it necessary?

BBC NEWS reports:

Over 1.2 billion pounds have been spent on the Queen’s diamond jubilee at a time of a worsening economic crisis. Read more…

The cost to the taxpayer of supporting the British monarchy has risen by £200,000 in the last financial year, Buckingham Palace accounts show. Read more…

ABC NEWS reports in July 2010:

It was revealed this week that in the last financial year the Queen spent $69 million – not including the costs of Royal security which are kept secret.

Money is spent on official functions, salaries for the Queen’s 1,200 staff, palace maintenance and travel.

The Royal train for instance, was used 19 times in 2009 with taxpayers shelling out an average $100,000 for each journey.

Australian universities hardship

CLOSE to one in five students drop out of Australian universities by the end of their first year. They blame unhappiness with the subjects they chose, financial hardship, failing courses and the opportunity to upgrade to a better institution for the high fallout rate. Read more…

According to the survey that TextbookFair have done recently at University of New South Wales and University of Sydney, students’ average spending of textbooks is $400 per semester. For the students whose majors are law, finance, accounting, biology, engineering etc. are even higher, around $600 on textbooks per semester. Indeed, most students complain about the unclear instruction of buying required textbooks – Lecturer would have only referred to the textbook a handful of times throughout the semester.

INCREASE in university funding, Efficient allocation of federal budget

Statistics from Australian Council of Social Service

Federal Budget 2012-2013 – Initial ACOSS Analysis

1. Government Revenue

2. Government Spending  (POOR education spending…only 8%…)

3.

How much do you think Australian federal government should spend on Higher Education? Join the discussion! Tell us what you think!

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337

 

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OERUniversity – Challenges and Possibilities

This is…”Open Learning 2.0”: Any student can study any content, supported in any number of instructional arrangements…The “local” institutional evaluation and accreditation…(remain) at the centre of the model…Even though learning is achieved through flexible arrangements, it can…still be rigorously assessed and credentialed. (Friesen and Murray 2011)

The OER university: from vision to realityCertification of Open Learning – a workshop with OERTest colleagues at EFQUEL.

“The OERuni is an international innovation partnership which aims to build a parallel learning universe to provide more affordable learning opportunities for all students worldwide who are currently excluded from the university sector. University Of Wollongong is a founding anchor partner of OERuni.”

Posted on the news section of UOW websit:

In the 1990s, before the internet was around, UOW was broadcasting free postgraduate lectures and documentaries three hours a day on Australian television and satellite to the Asia Pacific, under the banner of PAGE.

So what is happening on the Open Educational Resources (OER) front today?

More than 60 people attending an eLearning Forum on Open UOW held on 28 August (including staff through videoconference from Nowra and Bega) were provided the latest update. Guest speaker was Professor Wayne Macintosh who is the founding director of the OER Foundation and holds the Commonwealth of Learning Chair in OER at Otago Polytechnic. [The OER Foundation is co-ordinating the OERuni international network].

OERuni tends to encourage the national tertiary education as a whole. It is ideal if all the Australian universities join together in OERuni for the sake of learning, studying, sharing, improving and whole lots of initiatives and benefits. What makes me in a deep concern is the integration of OERuni and campus-based universities. Particularly when it comes to the sharing of textbooks and learning material. Academia should make the most use of virtual space for education. High cost of education should not be the reason to stop a learner’s step any more. A hybrid model of both virtual university and physical university is probably the idealist way to go in the future.

Related Links:

OER uni

-in UOW

-in WikiEducator

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337

 

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Virtual University- ‘Building on iTunes U – Global Textbook Station’

If we have Internet, mostly I guess broadband Internet, why should we ridiculously spend hundreds of dollar on paper textbooks? How about establish a ‘virtual university’ for Open Educational Resource? Here, the ‘virtual university’ is not the same as online university for distant education to meet the demands of students who are not able to physically go to lectures or tutorials on campus. The ‘Virtual University’ is for Open Textbook – global-based educational resource station. In this international platform, university students learning the same or similar courses can join together to share and discuss their required textbooks and learning materials. Who will make these required textbooks accessible without students’ great amount of expenditure? The university, the government support, private law firms, philanthropist… Yes! We need their support! Is that possible? Let’s have a look at a possibly VirtualUniversity-to-be Model– iTunesU. (Maybe some of you or most of you have already experienced it).

iTunes U is basically more like a showroom for actual courses running at universities worldwide. It is indeed free of charge, allowing open subscription and review forum for anyone in the world. Though it’s still a bit far from ‘Virtual University’ in the perspective of Open Textbook, however, it’s much easier to achieve the goal of Open Textbook via building on iTunes U.

What I think is that each university that already existed in iTunes U publishes their Textbook lists according to requirements of different faculties. The access of Open Textbooks in iTunes U is controlled and limited by students’ ID (i.e. student number or Uni-pass). It means only students who have enrolled in the programs within universities can access the Textbooks Resource.

If ‘iTunes U-Global Textbook Station’ is able to be successfully established, it will dramatically increase the variety and accessibility of textbooks and learning materials which cannot be found or accessed in our own university. It will possibly leads a global study forum with professionals, educators and students to discuss and tackle the problems that experience during reading and studying the textbooks. As a result, it tends to give the editors and authors of the textbooks a much clearer and more reasonable direction of what should be improved and changed for ‘new editions’ rather than unnecessary minor changes for profit intentions.

How do you think the idea of ‘iTunes U-Global Textbook Station’?

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337

 

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