snapshot of activity at #moocmooc using tweet abundance

I am intrigued by the potential for twitter activity to indicate engagement and participation in a cMOOC. It is too soon to tell, but if twitter is a good indicator of participation, what will happen to tweet abundance and average tweet per person over the course of the short week long moocmooc course?

It is too soon to tell, but here is a first snapshot of twitter activity binned in 15 minute intervals by day from August 8th through 1:30 pm EST today, August 14th. The course officially started on August 12th.

click image to enlarge

So far tweet activity is increasing day over day.

There were 869 tweets on day one and 1108 tweets on day two. Day three is not over yet, but tweet’s are up by about 10% over the same time yesterday.

The daily twitter socials are quite apparent in the data. There were 504 tweets between 5:30 and 6:30 on Sunday and 554 tweets over the same two hour interval on Monday.


Don’t make stuff up

People say the darndest things.  Take this alarmist article about AquaBounty GMO salmon:

…approval for its highly-allergenic AquAdvantage Frankenfish without so much as a shred of independent, legitimate scientific evidence proving that the imitation fish is safe for humans and the environment…

Approving AquAdvantage Salmon is controversial, but its risk as an allergen is not a major issues.  The fish has been tested for its allergenic potential. For this anti-GMO site to call the salmon “highly-allergenic” in the same sentence where they bemoan lack of evidence for the safety of the fish is the height of hypocrisy.

If you oppose making this fish commercially available, state your case.  But please don’t make stuff up.  It ruins your credibility.



Photo credit: © Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.




Education should expect mastery but encourage experimentation and failure on the way

The title is paraphrased from a TED talk given by Salman Khan in which he presents a vision for the future of formal education:

The best educational experience involve significant direct contact between teachers and students. There is no replacement for small group interactions, but time and resources are limited, and the traditional educational model of having teachers spend precious classroom time presenting material in long lectures is flawed and inefficient.  As Khan makes clear in his presentation, his approach is not a replacement for a formal educational experience,  it is just an effective way to use technology to scale the aspects of education that are scaleable.

The concept of flipping the classroom is powerful. It is a way to allow technology to scale lecture delivery and formative assessment while preserving classroom time for interactions that can not be automated.

His observation that students like the YouTube teacher better that the real teacher make perfect sense. The last thing people who are struggling to understand something need is to have their thought process interrupted by being asked if they get it.  Or, being forced to move on to another topic before they are ready. His Youtube videos demonstrate how streaming videos can become the modern equivalent of the textbook. Like books, videos allows a student to work at their own pace, rewind and stop to think whenever needed.

Trying and failing before finally succeeding is powerful way to acquire knowledge.  The quizzing process used by the Khan Academy site is an effective way to facilitate understanding through trial and error in a private, low stakes environment.

Finally, I love the analogy to bike riding: Modern grading where a mediocre grade is needed for students to move on to new material is like telling a kid learning to ride a bike “You fell off your bike but did not require hospitalization.  So, I will tell everyone you know how to ride and encourage you try more dangerous things…”