Welcome to the Microcampus

workspace

A college "campus" is a rather general term these days. I'm working on designing courses for a "virtual campus" which is an extension of the idea of a campus without borders that emerged with online learning. There are small schools that may lack a robust campus library, student union, or residence halls, but what if the campus has no classrooms? Is it a campus?

I recall reading about students studying at a remote institution but they were "hosted" by a local learning center. Stephen Downes wrote about a Triad Model where the triad was composed of the student, the instructor, and the facilitator. The facilitator helped bridge the distance between instructor and student. Ideally, this online learning situation would include a community online but also offline (on site) with peers and instructors. I saw this idea re-emerge with MOOCs where students used a distant course but met at a site for that community support.

Neither of these models of learning really gained widespread use in any fully robust form that I am aware of. There is a newer version using the term "micro-campus"

A micro-campus will offer support and coaching. If offers access to tools, from high quality printers, even a 3D printer or others that students can't afford. It can provide meeting space and project rooms. In a non-academic setting, this sounds like co-working spaces

An article on The Chronicle (subscription required, unfortunately) talks about the University of Phoenix, the University of Washington, and the Georgia Institute of Technology using experimental, storefront-sized “micro-campuses.” I'm sure they looked at places like WeWork for ideas, also some not very academic setting such as Amazon’s brick-and-mortar stores. The college micro-campuses might be located at the ground-level space of an apartment building. They are meant to be where students are located and in the community.

The examples of University of Washington’s Othello Commons in Seattle is 2300 square-feet at the base of an eight-story apartment building, A “Foundations of Databases” course meets there one night a week to help local residents develop basic IT skills.

Georgia Tech's distributed-campus "atrium” in midtown Atlanta (near the main campus) was still a work in progress when the article was written but feels very Amazon, including an app to interact with the space.

Are these true "learning spaces" or extension sites, satellite campuses or is the micro-campus really a new kind of space?

Social Media Usage Worldwide

I came across this interesting post that aggregates "Essential (and Surprising) Social Media Statistics" by Bonnie Porter. The article's aim to to help inform social media strategies, but if you are in the almost half of the world that uses social media, these statistics should be of interest.

Why should we care? Because U.S. adults spend an average of 1 hour and 16 minutes each day just watching video on digital devices. Is that you? Well, 78% of people watch online videos every week. 55% watch every day.

The internet has 4.4 billion users 

There are 3.499 billion active social media users 

As of May 2019, total worldwide population is 7.7 billion, therefore 57 percent of the world’s population is on the internet. More people are online than those who aren’t online.

45 percent of the world is on social media

If you have the internet, there’s an 80 percent chance you have a social media account, too.  

On average, people have 7.6 social media accounts apiece

The average daily time spent on social is 142 minutes a day

User numbers on social media platforms change all the time and it's difficult to distinguish registered users versus active users (define "active"?) but these recent numbers are probably accurate as a group of the 10 biggest platforms.

  1. Facebook — 2.4 billion users
  2. YouTube — 1.9 billion users
  3. WhatsApp — 1.6 billion users
  4. Instagram (tie) — 1 billion users
  5. WeChat (tie) — 1 billion users
  6. TikTok — 800 million users
  7. LinkedIn — 610 million users
  8. Reddit — 542 million users
  9. Twitter — 330 million users
  10. Pinterest — 265 million users

The article also includes closer looks at the top 5. You might be surprised that 90 percent of Instagram users are younger than 35, so it joins Snapchat and TikTok as one of the young demographics social networks.

A Comments Comment

Anyone who has read my posts about spam knows that I am the spam executioner.  I admit that I am an anti-spam fanatic and my spam controls on this server are Draconian even by Draco's standards.

There are many misconfigured e-mail servers out in the wild that blithely relay spam email to its targeted destination.  The most notorious of these mail relays that daily task me is one of the e-mail relays at yahoo.com.  Another wildly inconsistent e-mail relay is one of the AOL e-mail servers -- my efforts to bring Yahoo and AOL into the legitimate e-mail fold have met with indeterminate success.  Sometimes their e-mail relays behave and deliver real e-mail and sometimes they go round the bend and spit out scads of spam.

I'm committed to overcoming the automatic rejection of reader's comments by the spam filters and, if you have a comment rejected because of a spam block on the s35 server, please send an e-mail to s35@serendipity35.net and I will remove your e-mail address from the automatic spam filters.

The posts that Ken and I write are not one-way valves.  We both value (if not crave) your feedback.

If you have something to say, please say it; if the anti-spam gods object to your post, send along your e-mail address and I'll make sure the gods are appeased. 

Farewell to Apple iTunes

Whether you loved or hated Apple's iTunes, it was a big step iTunes as a media player, media library, Internet radio broadcaster, and eventually as a mobile device management application. Now it is being unbundled and essentially phased out, according to press release from the latest Apple Worldwide Developer Conference.

Apple Inc. announced it as a new service and tool on January 9, 2001. It was used to play, download, and organize digital multimedia files, including music and video, on personal computers running the macOS and Windows operating systems. It forced you to purchase through the iTunes Store.

My own professional interest in it focused on iTunes U which allowed universities to offer content, including courseware (mostly lectures at first) and other "podcast" materials and even print content, in a open way. I have been writing here about iTunes since 2006.

The latest move by Apple is probably much more tied to changes in the music industry and the way consumers listen to and purchase music. Apple has been pushing users to its Apple Music subscription service, like Spotify and others. That is a better deal for them since it means a guaranteed monthly fee instead of waiting and hoping that a customer will buy songs. I have not subscribed and I have not purchased music from their store in several years, and I suspect I am not alone in that trend.

Apple is phasing out iTunes in favor of three apps called Music, TV and Podcasts. This is very much how those services are already divided on iPhones and iPads.

From what I have read, iTunes will still exist as a standalone iOS app and on Windows PCs and your previous purchases and libraries will be maintained in each new app on Mac computers.

podcasting at NJITI have not found any information on the future of iTunes U. My university, NJIT, was one of the "sweet 16" schools to be there for the launch of iTunes U in May 2007. But with iTunes version 12.7 (August 2017), iTunes U collections became a part of the Podcasts app.

NJIT stopped using their iTunes U instance several years ago. They were not alone in higher education. That is a trend that does not please me as it took away one source of open courseware. But some schools have moved that content to other MOOC platforms which offer richer environments for full course offerings.

Apple says that it will not be remotely deleting years of downloaded and purchased songs and movies, but will probably find a way to bridge, manage and access downloaded content in other ways. A clear cut-off date for iTunes has not been set.

Our Collective Attention Span Has Fallen

Quick followup to my previous post about very brief presentations of research

The average human attention span has fallen to eight seconds — below the average attention span of a goldfish. At least, so said a recent wave of debunked press coverage from outlets including The New York Times and, uh, us. The factoid, which had no clear source, felt true. New research suggests this may be because a different attention span has shrunk recently — not the individual's, but the collective's.

Collective attention span is meant to mean how long a topic stays popular (or hot or trending). It is about public conversations.   

Homer Simpson too many optionsPeople study the how long of news stories, movies, hashtags etc. to see when it loses its appeal. Looking at the 2013-2016 hashtags trending on Twitter (one of the things that gets blamed for reduced attention spans) they found that the top 50 hashtags fell from 17.5 hours of trending to 11.9 hours. There was similar shrinkage on Reddit, Google Books and in movie ticket sales. 

Things don't hold our attention as long. At least online and with media. Is anyone studying attention span for real world things, like reading a book, looking at a painting, watching a sporting event?

The researchers say that this is part of "a more general development termed social acceleration, the impact of these changes on the social sphere has more recently been discussed within sociology. In the literature there have been hints of acceleration in different contexts, but so far, the phenomenon lacks a strong empirical foundation."

They created a model that suggests that our collective attention span shrunk due to growing competition. There is just too much media out there competing for our attention. "Our analysis suggests increasing rates of content production and consumption as the most important driving force for the accelerating dynamics of collective attention."

This isn't all that new. Overchoice or choice overload is a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with many options. The term was first introduced by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book, Future Shock.

The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less is a 2004 book by American psychologist Barry Schwartz that argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.

"Decision Paralysis" is another term to put into this mix. 

I wonder that if we were simply presented with fewer choices, our attention span would increase. Though it is unlikely that we can roll the media content snowball back up the hill, perhaps we can individually limit our choices and improve our personal attention span. I don't have much hope of lengthening our collective attention span.