My take on “IBM and Desire2Learn Take On Education Data Challenge”

It’s all over Twitter today:

This is an interesting step in data management and analysis and predictive analytics in education. I think what this brings to the front is that analytics is very much a business application, and that applying it to learning changes the education game, considerably. I’m not saying that it’s all bad. In fact, I think there can be a lot of good in it. With any discourse around this, I feel compelled to throw in a couple “let’s be cautious” and “consider the implications” type comments. I’m excited by predictive analytics. They’re neat, and I love all the pretty graphs. Should IBM and D2L be making conclusions and interventions based on the mass of data available? What are the implications and potential pitfalls of having edu-business-borgs making conclusions and giving advice? Consider what can’t and shouldn’t be counted. Let’s be sure to question the robots when they make decisions based on logic like this:

Analytics & Ukuleles (reflections on #ITC11)

I’m just back from eLearning 2011 in sunny Florida. Hands down one of the best conferences I’ve attended. Fabulous keynotes: (@cogdog, @colecamplese, @busynessgirl, & @opencontent). I’ll be posting some reflections on these presentations at some point. Inspiring sessions from people I’ve known from awhile and from some new friends, and an idyllic setting (especially when juxtaposed with cold and snowy southern Ontario).

I had the pleasure of presenting alongside Michael Amick, Dean of Academic and Technology Services from Central Lakes College (Minnesota). Here’s the slide deck:

And yes, there was a ukulele soundtrack to accompany this presentation:

  • “Would I Lie to You” (Eurythmics)
  • “Theme from the Facts of Life”
  • “(Don’t You) Forget About Me” (Simple Minds)
  • “Every Breath You Take” (The Police)

me and my uke
Many thanks to the organizers and all who participated. Hope to see you next year.

A picture paints a thousands words, and all that

These images from

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One of the nice things about data is that you can make graphs out of it. A good visualization can help tell your story. It can also help you cover-up some lies, but we won’t get into that right now. Add some graphics, colours, lots of lines and a quirky element or two and you’ve got it made. Your visualizations will go viral before you know it.