Sunday, January 24, 2016

Module 5 Assignment: Increasing Returns

Increasing return is one of the forces that explains how technology can emerge (Thornburg, 2013). Increasing return is the process in which some technologies that are ahead continue to be ahead, while innovations that lose advantages keep losing them even more (Arthur, 1996). The competition between DVDs and video-on-demand, that has been in place since 2010, is an example of increasing return.
In the 1990s, it was common to have a wonderful collection of DVDs or rent them in Blockbuster. However, by the end of the the first decade of this century, physical DVD  became  highly unpopular. Blockbuster had began losing its customers and went bankrupt in 2010 (Satell, 2014). Netflix,  an online DVD store, replaced  Blockbuster: in 2011, the number of Netflix DVD subscribers reached 13.93 million. Nevertheless, when the Internet became widely accessible and more and more individuals preferred to watch movies online, the number of Netflix DVD subscribers went down to slightly over 380 thousand by the beginning of 2016 (Statista, 2016). Currently, DVD industry continuing losing its advantages while video-on-demand continues to be ahead.
The ability to get access to a movie immediately without waiting until the needed DVD arrives made video-on-demands widely spread. In 2012, the number of Netflix streaming videos subscribers was 25.1 million and reached 27.2 million by the beginning of 2016 (Statista, 2016). Netflix is just one of  numerous current websites that offers online movies. For example, I watched Star Trek (2009) on Amazon using our daughter’s Amazon Prime account that allows for streaming videos from the Web.

Thus, emerged physical DVDs became obsolete, were replaced by online DVDs, that are becoming obsolete now, being replaced by videos-on-demand. These processes, in accordance to McLuhan’s laws, occur simultaneously (Thornburg, 2013). Physical and online DVDs carried with it the seed of destruction “paving the way” for video-on-demand to follow.    
Arthur, W. B. (1996). Increasing returns and the new world of business. Harvard Business Review,74(4), 100−109.
Satell, G. (2014). A Look Back at why Blockbuster Really Failed and why it didn’t have to. Retrieved from
Statista. (2016). Number of Netflix DVD Subscribers in the US. Retrieved from
Thornburg, D. (2013c). Emerging technologies and McLuhan's laws of media. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Module 4 Assignment: Disruptive Technology

A disruptive technology is a technology that impacts and replaces a well-established technology and can create an entirely new technological industry (Thornburg, 2014). SixthSense technology can be an example of a disruptive technology. SixthSense is a wearable technology that allows for digital interaction in the physical world around us through hand gestures (Mistry, 2010). During his 2009 TED talk, Pranav Mistry presented only a prototype of SixthSense, however, OmniTouch (2011), Apple Watch (2015), and other wearable technologies became a reality (Quora, 2015).     

Modern wrist-wear SmartWatches tell time, work as a GPS, music player, health monitor, cell phones, and cameras (Wearable Technology, 2016). It has the potential to replace smart phones and some other similar devices. The social benefits of wearable technology can be especially seen in medicine. It would be highly valuable in monitoring a person’s health with wrist-ware watch and send an alert  directly to his/her doctor, when necessary. In education, wearable technology can be used if it allows to type, for example, a solution to a problem and sent it directly to the teacher.
 The wear technologies described above are still emerging. Perhaps they will be widely used during the next couple of years. However, we never know when another disruptive technology will replace it. 
Mistry, P. (2010). SixthSense: Integrating Information with Real World. Retrieved from
Quora. (2015). Sixth Sense (technology):What Happened to the SixthSense Project? Retrieved from
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014). David Thornburg: Disruptive technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Wearable Technology. (2016). Retrieved from

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Module 3 Assignment: Rhymes of History

Learning Management Systems
“Rhymes of history”, one of the forces that drive emerging technology, impact the development of a new technology or rekindle something from the past (Thornburg, 2014). Learning Management Systems, which provide the course materials and tests to students at any location, can be an example of technology that represents a rhyme of history. The first attempt of distance education occurred in 1728, when a British teacher mailed weekly lessons to their students. In 1840, Sir Isaac Pitman sent texts to his students and received their responses by mail. This innovation was the foundation for the development of correspondence courses in the UK (Hickey, 2014).
In 1924, Sidney Pressey invented the first teaching machine that could administer multiple choice questions. In 1929, LaZere invented a device that could provide a problem to a student and check whether the problem was solved correctly. SAKI, a teaching system that adjusted the difficulty of the questions based on the student’s performance, was invented in 1956. In 1960, The University of Illinois linked the computer terminals so that students could access the course materials and listen to the recorded lectures. This innovation evolved into the PLATO system, which allowed for the operation of thousands terminal across the planet. PLATO also had chart rooms, screen sharing, and message boards (Hickey, 2014).
In 1969, the U.S. Department of Defence developed APPANET, the precursor to the Internet. The first desck-top computer, introduced in 1970, and the World Wide Web, invented in 1989, made modern online learning possible. In 1990, the first LMS for the Macintosh platform was launched. The historical ideas described above were reflected in the further development of LMSs. Currently, most LMSs are hosted in the cloud and their further development is on the rise (Hickey, 2014).

Hickey, R. (2014). The History of Online Education. Retrieved from
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014h). David Thornburg: Rhymes of history [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

 LMS. (n.d.). History of the LMS. Retrieved from

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Module 2 Assignment 1: Digital Badges and its Tetrad

Digital Badges
Digital Badges is an online record of achievements (Google, 2013). A badge icon usually appear on a web page and may indicate completion of an assignment or a game, mastery of skills or knowledge, and representation of achievements (EDUCAUSE, 2012). The implementation of digital badges allows for a transformation of traditional lecture-pedagogy to multiple-level learning based on collaboration and cooperation through interactive use of media, social network, and other online resources. Digital badges can be used in education, community-based programs, and work-related settings. Software packages such as the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure verify whether a certain level of knowledge or skills has been met and award the badge. To get a badge, students may be required to watch a certain number of videos or read a certain number of articles during a certain period of time. Digital badges focus on individual student accomplishments and can be a part of a resume or portfolio. However, it is not clear at this point whether badges will be accepted by universities and employment agencies. If they will, the credibility, validity, and security aspects of digital badges should be considered (EDUCAUSE, 2012). 
The Digital Badges Tetrad

Physical badges have been used for centuries to represent different levels of achievements in armies or other organisations. Digital badges appeared on the scene with the development of gamification. In 2005, Microsoft implemented a digital achievement system in the Xbox 360. In 2007, the American Education Research Association asked software companies to focus on the development of digital badge system. In 2010, Basno, a digital badge service provider, launched a digital badges platform that could be used to reflect athletic accomplishments. In 2011, the Mozilla Foundation began developing a common system for collecting and displaying badges on instructional sites. Recently, Basno and Mozilla Open Badge have began working on an set of standards for exchanging badges across the web (EDUCAUSE, 2012).  
EDUCAUSE. (2012). 7 Things You Should Know About Digital Badges. Retrieved
Google (2013). Badge System Design Principles. Retrieved from

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Module 1 Assignment 1: Current Trends in Educational Technology 
The Technology that Shapes Learning in Higher Ed
With the development of Learning Management Systems (LMS), the traditional in-class lecture-based instruction in higher education is being gradually superseded by web-based face-to-face, hybrid, or fully-online delivery modes. Moodle, which was developed by Australian programmer Martin Dougiamas in the early 2000s to improve the effectiveness of online learning, is one existing LMS and is used in 219 countries (Moodle, 2015). My community college began using this open-source platform about ten years ago. Since then, many instructors of our institution have started utilizing numerous features of this product in their face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses.
Challenges and Pitfalls Associated with this Technology
Some users of Moodle find this product to be very tech heavy, not intuitive or user- friendly, with a little clunky interface (Silberman, 2013). Our instructors complain that with every update some old convenient features disappear completely and some are changed dramatically so much that they have to relearn a lot. Thus, the users of Moodle may need very frequent technical support, which is not free for many institutions.
I have noticed many limitations in our current 2.7.3 version of Moodle with creating online quizzes from scratch. There is no a convenient and quick opportunity to create multiple versions of the same quiz with non-numeric questions. The automatic question marks do not allow for a lot of flexibility. For example, there is an automatic question mark of 90% and 100%, but if I want to assign a score that is between these two marks, I have to do it manually. It is not possible to grade the same question for all students. There is no option that can make an assignment visible to an individual student only.  The Gradebook also has some limitations.
The Societal Needs and Benefits
Distance learning has become widespread in higher education. As all LMSs, Moodle fulfills the need for online teaching and learning. Many students, educators, and businessmen benefit from using this product: there are currently 65380 registered Moodle sites (Moodle, 2015). However, Moodle has an additional advantage: it is free, open-resource platform that is supported by several software-developers around the world.
How Pitfalls can be Avoided
There is a plug-in software called WalkMe for Moodle that can be helpful in learning how to use the system. It can reduce the number of complaints about the non-intuitive structure of Moodle (Silberman, 2013). Moodle developers can be directly contacted to improve existing features. I send them my suggestion on a regular basis. Hopefully, they will be implemented in the next version of Moodle.
The Link to Moodle Site  
The Moodle main site is located at  This site has current and previous Moodle documents. Historical information and statistics is also available.   
Siberman, J. (2013, August 6). Challenges of Moodle UX and how to address them. Retrieved from
Moodle. (2015). History and Statistics, Retrieved from