Miscellaneous

Universities risk only ‘social elite’ having key knowledge

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 11:00
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Chris Havergal, Times Higher Education, Dec 14, 2014

A University of Leeds professor is arguing that the focus on open and accessible elarning will result in an environment where only the elite will have access to certain knowledge. “ Many of these courses veer towards mundane everyday knowledge and they do not give students access to the specialist knowledge that forms the bases for generalisation and critique,” argues sue Clegg. I would be more concerned were it not for the fact that this specialized knowledge is already reserved for an elite, and that open and accessible learning is rapidly shrinking the range of that specialized knowledge - the connectivism courses that we ran, or the AI course run by Norvig and Thrun opened up to the general public knowledge they would never have had access to in a pre-open-learning world. Hey, my first contribution to open learning was my guide to the logical fallacies, which quite literally formed the bases for generalisation and critique. So, no, this is a red herring argument, based on facts that are demonstrably not true.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

An update on Google News in Spain

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 11:00


Richard Gingras, Google Europe Blog, Dec 14, 2014

I'm concerned by this item. I read feeds from Spain and post commentaries, including excepts, here from time to time. But now there's a new Spanish law that has forced Google News to shut down and could affect this website. "This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not." I'll play it by ear. But if Spanish agencies decide they want to charge me for listing content here, I will be forced, like Google, to shut down this service in Spain.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Art can enhance humanity’s survival

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 23:00
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Ollivier Dyens, University Affairs, Dec 13, 2014

What we need to understand about art, I think, is what is reflected in this article: "we are enticed by forms, shapes, rhythms and movements that are useful to our existence.... (art) acts as a device for creating effective metaphors, analogies, play on words, and allegories – mechanisms that draw unusual elements together to produce innovative shapes, dynamics and phenomena." We have artificially separated language and numbers from other forms of expression, and relegated the latter to the realm of beauty and pleasure, without understanding the need to express ourselves in different ways at different times. I've never understood the primacy of the literal (if I may so style words and numbers) and have always tried to express the same concepts in multiple media, because the abstractions of words and numbers so often misrepresent the meaning. As Dyens says, "If art enriches our lives it is mainly because it is a fantastic survival system, one that allows us to explore new survival structures and then disseminate them to the entire species through emotional means."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Google's road to virtual reality begins with Cardboard

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 23:00
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Nicole Lee, Engadget, Dec 13, 2014

Donald Clark has been a  vocal supporter of virtual reality and can be seen pictures displaying is passion for Oculus Rift. But this company, which was purchased  by Facebook out of the hands of a very angry Kickstarter audience, may be facing substantial competition from Google. Clark may want to refocus his energies. In a 20% project that took off, Google's  Cardboard regains some of the search giant's original charm while displaying a flexibility that is uncommon. The device is actually made of cardboard, some lenses, and a mobile phone. "Google is releasing new building specifications and tools for makers of its Cardboard headset, whether they're businesses like DODOCase and Knoxlabs or individuals like you and me.... mall businesses like I Am Cardboard and Unofficial Cardboard were formed out of just making and selling the Cardboard designs that Google open sourced."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

ICDE - UNESCO Policy Forum on open, online and flexible learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 23:00
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Press Release, ICDE, Dec 13, 2014

An ICDE-UNESCO policy forum has called for "a new commitment is needed to opening up education, technology enhanced learning, the use of open educational resources, online, flexible and blended learning, research and innovation in the design, development, deployment and delivery of education at all levels." The forum was held in Bali in late November and a formal  Bali Declaration is available.

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Draft Strategic Plan (2015-2021)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 23:00


Various authors, Commonwealth of Learning, Dec 13, 2014

The Commonwealth of Learning has posted their draft strategic plan for the next 6 years and are calling for comments. It's a shift from previous plans. The first thing is a realignment from 'learning for development' to 'learning for sustainable development'. Additionally, there is increased recognition of the role for informal learning for development. The plan is also longer-term than the previous 3-year plans. The plan focuses on open schooling, participation in higher education, the virtual university for small states in the Commonwealth, teacher education, skills for healthy communities, technical and vocational skills development, farmers, and technology-enabled learning. The plan envisions roughly $12 million per year in expenditures, hoping for 20% funding from projects and fees, the rest contributions from 45 member nations. Be sure to see the recommendations on pages 47-48, which have some surprises - focusing on 4-6 nations, "transition from an educational development organisation to a backbone organisation focused on social impact," the need for major donors, and a total rethink of its communications strategy.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Nearly 25% of 'people' viewing online video ads are robots used by fraudsters

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 14:00
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Dominic Rushe, The Guardian, Dec 13, 2014

So how likely is it that the education content industry and learning analytics would be infected by the same sort of malfeasance that plagues online publishing? Well, to expect anything different would require us to believe that academic publishers have higher educational standards than publishers in general. So I guess I would have to ask whether they have given us any reason to believe this at this point? For otherwise, learning analytics developers should be prepared to enter into a long-term battle against scammers, just as in the case of the advertising industry.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

More Than Apps and Gadgets

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 14:00


Stephen Downes, The Educationist, Dec 13, 2014

I wrote a short article to launch the first issue of The Educationist, a new magazine or journal launched this week by openlearning. In it, I argue that we should be clear about the role of education in supporting personal development and personal goals, rather than merely as a means to some end like "working to keep in power those who are already in power, providing them elite educations at exclusive universities, or we are perpetuating the servitude of the working people, teaching employment skills and vocational trades to the children of factory workers and farmers."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

When Charter Schools Are Nonprofit in Name Only

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:00
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Marian Wang, ProPublica, Dec 13, 2014

So the way to be a non-profit charter school is tio accept government money and then turn around and hire management services from companies that actually do make a profit. "In the charter-school sector, this arrangement is known as a 'sweeps' contract because nearly all of a school's public dollars – anywhere from 95 to 100 percent – is 'swept' into a charter-management company."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Instructional Design in the VUCA World

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 20:00
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Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID, Other Reflections, Dec 12, 2014

Good article describing how the practice of instructional design has to change to adapt to new circumstances.  The author writes, "One of the implications of the shift is that instructional designers can no longer think about designing only formal training programs that will go on the LMS. They have to think of the entire spectrum and see it holistically... an instructional designer today is required to not only understand the fundamentals of good instructional design but must also expand his/her skill sets to include an  understanding  of community management, the spectrum of learning from formal to informal, the impact of social, local and mobile on user behaviour, the need to equip users with self-managed learning skills."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

5 Reasons Your Portfolio Should Be A Blog

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 20:00


George Couros, Connected Principals, Dec 12, 2014

My own portfolio, such as it is, isn't any sort of 'thing', though a certain amount of it is a blog (the rest is YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Slideshare presentations, and a radio station currently off air that nobody listens to (I really have to fix that)). The reasons advanced are pretty good, though, and apply to all these non-bloggy forms of personal publishing: they develop literacies, build an audience, and help you create your own voice. I know a lot of people are reluctant to work publicly or to commit to regular long-form communication. But it's hard for me to understand when compared to the significant benefits you derive from it. If all you're doing is tweeting, you're short-changing yourself.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

YouTube shows video creators what copyright restrictions their audio will face

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 17:00


Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, Dec 12, 2014

More reason to manage and upload your own videos for yourself. YouTube is increasingly a commercial publishing platform, with commercial publishing rules, which means you can even share snippets of things that may be copyright material even though such use is easily protected under fair use). "The video-sharing platform has long used the controversial ContentID system to enforce copyright, automatically scanning uploaded videos for infringing audio. If such audio is found, the video is flagged or even removed."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Hachette Wants to Turn Twitter Into a Bookstore

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 17:00


Joshua Brustein, BloombergBusinessweek, Dec 12, 2014

I'm not sure I get the appeal of Amanda Palmer and I'm not sure of the relevance of showing a topless photo of her on this story about Twitter becoming a marketplace for books, especially since I don't see books per se as having much of a future themselves, but I guess there's no limit to how far we'll turn back the wheel of time in an effort to monetize our conversations with each other. And going topless seems to be what Amanda Palmer does, mostly. Social media as we know it is not long overdue for a disruption. And magazines like this retro article from Bloomberg even more so.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Online harassment: 'Dedicated' trolls will find way around anti-abuse rules

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 14:00
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Andre Mayer, CBC News, Dec 11, 2014

Another article describing how difficult it is to block the torrent of abuse that can come your way online. Personally, I think that the only way to avoid such abuse is to block people from being able to comment on others' websites entirely. Each person gets their own space, where they can caterwaul to their own content. People, meanwhile, read only the things their friends write or refer. It's not hard to build such a system, but advertisers - for the same reason as spammers and griefers - have no interest in seeing it happen. I'll put some work i nto it in the new year, and you'll see what such a system looks like.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

EB2014, Flipped teaching,flipped class by iStudio

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:00
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Reokim 김영대, YouTube, Dec 11, 2014

Here I am at Online Educa Berlin being show how to create my own broadcast studio ("Now I can be Jon Stewart," I commented). It's still pretty expensive (note that you're getting broadcast cameras and screens) but the software will make it possible for anyone to manage their own video production. Who needs staff? How long will it be before something like this is widely available to, say, high school students? The product is  iStudio and the company is Darim.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What's Next for E-Textbooks?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:00
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Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, Dec 11, 2014

I think everybody following the industry already knows this, but according to this report e-textbooks of the future won't look much like textbooks. "Imagine, instead, an online service that remixes itself on the fly for consumption via any device, with concepts tailored to a specific student's knowledge gaps and learning style," writes Dian Schaffhauser. I'm actually hoping for a bit more than that. Pearson's REVEL, for example, sounds unimaginative: it "mixes text, interactive exercises, infographics, social features and video segments for students, who can use it on their mobile devices." But there will be more. As the article notes, publishers are turning themselves into software companies.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Canada First Research Excellence Fund

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:00


Press Release, Government of Canada, Dec 11, 2014

The Canadian government has announced a large new research funding program. It will be administered by the the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and focus on five priority areas: environment and agriculture, health and life sciences, natural resources and energy, information and communications technology, and advanced manufacturing. More from Globe and Mail, AUCC News Release, CAUT News Release, Maclean's, Full Strategy. Via Academica.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

he Case for ‘Passive’ Learning – The ‘Silent’ Community of Online Learners

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 18:00


Katy Smith, Donna Smith, Distance, The European Journal of Open, E-Learning (EURODL), Dec 10, 2014

"‘ Passive,’ " say the authors, "can be a, somewhat, provocative word." And so there is some controversy in the idea that some people may find value in passive learning. We would call such participants "lurkers" today (with no change in the provocation). This paper examines the idea within the context of two social science courses offered at the Open University. That's probably not enough scale to provide any reasonable set of results (why don't researchers in this field do anything at scale?) but at least it's a conversation starter. "Perhaps," suggest the authors, "engagement (with material, with students, with tutors etc.) is critical, but not necessarily ‘ active’ participation." Not surprisingly, the authors find there is a case to be made.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Yahoo Starts Selling Flickr Users’ Photos

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:00
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Susan Gunelius, Newstex, Dec 09, 2014

So here's why I kept the 'Non-Commercial' clause on all my Flickr photo Creative Commons licenses: " The Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo! will begin selling prints of 50 million Creative Commons-licensed images uploaded by Flickr users... Images bearing a Creative Commons licenses that allow for commercial use will be sold as canvas prints for up to $49 each with no payments going to the image owners. Instead, Yahoo! will retain all revenues."

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EPortfolios and Badges Workshop

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 14:00


Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Dec 08, 2014

Summary of the pre-conference workshop at Online Educa Berlin. This session looked at ePortfolios and Badges, as the title suggests. This is a comprehensive topic, including subjects like qualifications, certifications and competencies.

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