Tag: ICT & technology

Review: How emotions and gender can avoid the ‘echo chamber effect’ on web systems?

Filipa M. Ribeiro  (University of Porto)

Filipa M. Ribeiro
(University of Porto)

Social network analysis has emerged in recent years as an important tool for examining social phenomena. In this review, Filipa M. Ribeiro, PhD researcher and science writer from University of Porto examines a recent dissertation on social network analysis that amongst else provides suggestions to how one can use social data and avoid the so-called echo-chamber effect. 

At a first glance, the dissertation entitled “Emotions and Recommender Systems: A Social Network Approach”, by Carlos Figueiredo from the University of Austin, Texas,  does not seem to relate to other fields than digital media. However, his research and considerations on the use of massive social data is useful for all fields, particularly education related fields as it deals with the current threats of using massive quantities of social data and social networks.

But first things first and let’s summarize the main strong points of this research work. First, the topic about the emotional implications of recommender system is of central importance to digital media and communication.




News: Widespread digital illiteracy according to new EU data

computer-music-video-1368999-mRecently, the Commission published some recent data related to digital literacy in the EU, indicating their widespread concerns for digital literacy across Europe, where it is argued that almost half (47%) of Europeans have insufficient digital skills.

Some of the key points highlighted in the memo are the following:

  •  37% of households without a broadband subscription say that this is because of a lack of skills, compared to 26% who cite equipment costs as a barrier.
  • 40% or more of the population in some EU member states have no digital skills (Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania), meaning large groups in Europe remain digitally illiterate.
  • Up to 85% of the overall population and 83% of the workforce in some Member States do not have the digital skills they need.
  • The 11 Member States where more than 50% of the population has insufficient digital skills are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia. 

The lack of general digital skills and also trained professionals in the area of ICT is a concern for the Commission, as some of their forecasts indicate that there will be a shortage of about 900 000 skilled ICT professionals by 2020.




2013 in review – Hedda podcasts and other available seminars and lectures

2013_2We continue our annual review of the yearly entries on the blog. In the first post we looked at the guest entries. In this second post we will focus on the Hedda podcast and varous other audio and video materials. Part three that will be coming up later will focus on Hedda news from 2013

Hedda podcasts in 2013

Our first podcast of 2013 was published in January and was number 37 in our series. We interviewed Dr. Don F. Westerheijden, who is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in University of Twente in Netherlands. In the podcast we discussed some developments in quality assurance in the Netherlands, after a large scale public scandal highlighting doubts over quality in a number of Dutch higher education institutions.

In episode 38 of the podcast series, we talked to Drs. Frans Kaiser and Elisabeth Epping about the U-Map project, a large project examining horizontal diversity of higher education institutions in Europe and beyond, and to develop a classification of higher education institutions. The project is currently still in demo-mode, so the podcast will provide you with background information about the project. Drs. Frans Kaiser and Elisabeth Epping both worked at the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in University of Twente in Netherlands.

In our next podcast, we talked to Professor Isa Jahnke about ICT in higher education, where we in particular focused on digital didactics and some of her recent research on working with technology in higher education. Isa Jahnke is a Professor in Interactive Media and Learning (IML) at Department of Applied Educational Science in Umeå University, Sweden.




Guest blogger: Who is open education for? OER, MOOCs, and their subjects

Jeremy K. Knox  (University of Edinburgh)

Jeremy K. Knox
(University of Edinburgh)

In this guest entry, Jeremy K. Knox from University of Edinburgh examines the current open education resources (OER) and MOOC trends and some of the competing assumptions behind these developments. Furthermore, he highlights two important considerations this can have for educational research in the future. 

Jeremy K. Knox is currently working towards his doctoral degree at University of Edinburgh at the Moray House School of Education. His research interests are focused on critical posthumanism, and the relationship between current educational epistemologies and methodologies of educational research and digital culture.

Check also his personal blog where he writes about technology, culture and learning.  

‘Open education’ has emerged as a loosely defined, but influential theme in higher education, shaping institutional strategies and prompting major international policy. Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have surfaced at the vanguard of a movement that appears to be establishing itself around a call for widespread institutional transformation, driven by new digital technologies and premised on the idea that higher education is in ‘crisis’.

However, while gaining considerable influence, the idea of ‘open education’ remains significantly under-theorised, and themes of economic benefit, teaching efficiency and learner emancipation are tending to dominate the discussion. While important, these interpretations overshadow considerations of the ways that OERs and MOOCs are involved in shaping the learning subject. In other words, how is the practicing of open education implicated in the formulation of particular ideas about what it is to be human, and what does this mean for the project of education?

Since being formalised in 2002 by UNESCO, the loosely defined OER – used to classify any educational material that is made freely available online – have risen in prominence, recently inciting a public consultation from the European Commission on “Opening up education” (2011), and attracting significant research funding for the Open University in the UK, to the tune of $1.5 million from the Hewlett Foundation (Open University 2012).




Guest blogger: MOOCs, mom and me

Irene Ogrizek,  Dawson College, Montreal

Irene Ogrizek,
Dawson College, Montreal

Irene Ogrizek teaches English literature at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec, and has developed online testing in platforms such as WebCT and Moodle. Furthermore, she frequently writes about education and digital technology on her own blog. In this commentary on the developments around MOOCs, she shares a rather personal story that offers some critical remarks on the current MOOC trends and concerns related to potential future impacts. 

Lately, I’ve been writing about MOOCs from a critical perspective, and that perspective has evolved from knowledge I’ve gained in both my private and professional lives. As one of my department’s fast adopters, I’m not opposed to using the internet as a teaching tool. However, it’s precisely my experience with online education that has me worried about the rhetoric I’m hearing from MOOC enthusiasts.

To manage cravings, recovering alcoholics are often told to “play the tape to the end.” It’s an exhortation to consider the entire experience, consequences included, of starting at one drink and ending at twenty. That’s good advice for those of us who aren’t addicted too: when possible, thinking a process through to its natural outcome is useful. MOOC enthusiasts, I suspect, are not playing the tape to the end, creating a worrisome disconnect between shortfalls in a student’s education and in the cost this can have for the rest of us.