Archive of ‘distance learning’ category

VR training medicine

A virtual reality (VR) medical training system built by Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) is now being offered for free during the COVID-19 pandemic to help hospitals and medical schools bring in badly-needed additional staffers to provide patient care.

more on VR and Nursing in this IMS blog

Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely

Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely

Link to the list here:

Contact if you need more info/support, clarifications. E.g. among the great tools in the list is EdPuzzle ( EdPuzzle does very much the same as the Video Quiz in the MinnState MediaSpace (aka Kaltura); we can help you figure out advantages and disadvantages of the tools, their pedagogical application and make final choice.

Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely – A PDF Handout

Algorithmic Test Proctoring

Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education


While in-person test proctoring has been used to combat test-based cheating, this can be difficult to translate to online courses. Ed-tech companies have sought to address this concern by offering to watch students take online tests, in real time, through their webcams.

Some of the more prominent companies offering these services include ProctorioRespondusProctorUHonorLockKryterion Global Testing Solutions, and Examity.

Algorithmic test proctoring’s settings have discriminatory consequences across multiple identities and serious privacy implications. 

While racist technology calibrated for white skin isn’t new (everything from photography to soap dispensers do this), we see it deployed through face detection and facial recognition used by algorithmic proctoring systems.

While some test proctoring companies develop their own facial recognition software, most purchase software developed by other companies, but these technologies generally function similarly and have shown a consistent inability to identify people with darker skin or even tell the difference between Chinese people. Facial recognition literally encodes the invisibility of Black people and the racist stereotype that all Asian people look the same.

As Os Keyes has demonstrated, facial recognition has a terrible history with gender. This means that a software asking students to verify their identity is compromising for students who identify as trans, non-binary, or express their gender in ways counter to cis/heteronormativity.

These features and settings create a system of asymmetric surveillance and lack of accountability, things which have always created a risk for abuse and sexual harassment. Technologies like these have a long history of being abused, largely by heterosexual men at the expense of women’s bodies, privacy, and dignity.

Their promotional messaging functions similarly to dog whistle politics which is commonly used in anti-immigration rhetoric. It’s also not a coincidence that these technologies are being used to exclude people not wanted by an institution; biometrics and facial recognition have been connected to anti-immigration policies, supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations, going back to the 1990’s.

Borrowing from Henry A. Giroux, Kevin Seeber describes the pedagogy of punishment and some of its consequences in regards to higher education’s approach to plagiarism in his book chapter “The Failed Pedagogy of Punishment: Moving Discussions of Plagiarism beyond Detection and Discipline.”

my note: I am repeating this for years
Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s ongoing critique of Turnitin, a plagiarism detection software, outlines exactly how this logic operates in ed-tech and higher education: 1) don’t trust students, 2) surveil them, 3) ignore the complexity of writing and citation, and 4) monetize the data.

Technological Solutionism

Cheating is not a technological problem, but a social and pedagogical problem.
Our habit of believing that technology will solve pedagogical problems is endemic to narratives produced by the ed-tech community and, as Audrey Watters writes, is tied to the Silicon Valley culture that often funds it. Scholars have been dismantling the narrative of technological solutionism and neutrality for some time now. In her book “Algorithms of Oppression,” Safiya Umoja Noble demonstrates how the algorithms that are responsible for Google Search amplify and “reinforce oppressive social relationships and enact new modes of racial profiling.”

Anna Lauren Hoffmann, who coined the term “data violence” to describe the impact harmful technological systems have on people and how these systems retain the appearance of objectivity despite the disproportionate harm they inflict on marginalized communities.

This system of measuring bodies and behaviors, associating certain bodies and behaviors with desirability and others with inferiority, engages in what Lennard J. Davis calls the Eugenic Gaze.

Higher education is deeply complicit in the eugenics movement. Nazism borrowed many of its ideas about racial purity from the American school of eugenics, and universities were instrumental in supporting eugenics research by publishing copious literature on it, establishing endowed professorships, institutes, and scholarly societies that spearheaded eugenic research and propaganda.

more on privacy in this IMS blog

questions about online education

One of the most frequently and persistently asked questions about online education is “does it work” or “is it effective.”
The question is meaningless because there cannot be any definitive answer for a number of reasons.

First, online education (and its variants such a online instruction, online teaching, distance education and distance learning) is a big umbrella that covers a wide array of different practices, which vary a great deal in terms of quality. Comparing the effectiveness of online education with face-to-face education has been the most common research approach to examine the effectiveness of online education. And the answer has been, for a long time, that there is no significant difference between the two. This answer, however, does not mean online is effective or not, it simply means there are plenty of effective and ineffective programs in both online and face-to-face education. In other words, the within variation is larger than the between variation.

Second, another reason that there cannot be a definitive answer to this question is the diversity of stakeholders in online education.
And unfortunately what works for one stakeholder may not work for the others.

Third, even within the same program and with only students as the stakeholder, there cannot be a definitive answer because no program can possibly have the same effects on all students equally.

Fourth, yet another reason that the question cannot have a definitive answer is the multiplicity of outcomes. Education outcomes include more than what has been typically measured by grades or tests.

Fifth, the rapid changes in technology that can be used to deliver online education add to the elusiveness of a definitive answer to the question. While pedagogy, design, and human actors certainly paly a significant role in the experiences of online education, so does technology.

more on online education in this IMS blog

Keep the Crashers Out of Your Zoom

How to Keep the Crashers Out of Your Zoom Event


How to Secure Your Zoom Meetings from Zoom-Bombing Attacks


Maybe we shouldn’t use Zoom after all

he Intercept reported that Zoom video calls are not end-to-end encrypted, despite the company’s claims that they are.

Motherboard reports that Zoom is leaking the email addresses of “at least a few thousand” people because personal addresses are treated as if they belong to the same company

Apple was forced to step in to secure millions of Macs after a security researcher found Zoom failed to disclose that it installed a secret web server on users’ Macs, which Zoom failed to remove when the client was uninstalled


‘Zoom is malware’: why experts worry about the video conferencing platform

security researchers have called Zoom “a privacy disaster” and “fundamentally corrupt” as allegations of the company mishandling user data snowball.

A report from Motherboard found Zoom sends data from users of its iOS app to Facebook for advertising purposes, even if the user does not have a Facebook account.

Zoom’s security and privacy problems are snowballing from r/technology


this Tweet threads informative:

app to phone scan pages to PDF

Borrowed from the Higher Ed Learning Collective FB group:

iOS (Apple):


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