Agency and algorithms





Daphne Koller, in her TED talk about MOOCs, explained how data gathered by weekly online assignments revealed how students completed their work. A graph showed that most logged on at the last minute to do assignments, without much online engagement earlier in the weekly interval. That information tells us, she says laughingly, that students like to procrastinate. Well, yes. It also tells us that Coursera is observing this phenomenon and that they likely have the names of students doing it. My question is, would banks and other lending organizations be able to purchase that information? And would Coursera inform their students? — Irene Ogrizek, “Why we all need Edward Snowden”


These values are enshrined not, in fact, by the actors in the education system but by observers of it – namely politicians, policy-makers and journalists.  And, the increasingly techno-deterministic educational discourse, bringing with it a focus on quantitative measures and whispers of “artificial intelligence (in reality, a simple set of algorithms and a great paint job) means that increasingly the first two groups are relying on a summary provided by the third. — David Kernohan, ‘”Education is broken, somebody should do something” #altc2013’


…there are other stories about the past and the future of education — ones where building human capacity trumps adding tablet capacity; ones where agency matter more than algorithms — Audrey Watters, “[Expletive Deleted] Ed-Tech #Edinnovation”


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