New Today

2014: The Year the Media Stopped Caring About MOOCs?
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, April 14, 2014
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Based on information about an unpopular UPenn seminar for media on MOOCs Steve Kolowich wrote this article about the possibility that media are losing interest in the story. I suppose a decline in interest in inevitable and I'm not surprised that the Chronicle's editors would want to pounce on that. But it may be premature; Kolowich wrote me asking if I had data, and thanks to the script I wrote for mooc.ca to extract news coverage of MOOCs I did have data, so I wrote up a quick script that extracted it. Here is the result. My own conclusion is that media coverage hasn't declined significantly.

Drupal to WordPress Migration
Jennifer Maddrell, Designed to Inspire, April 14, 2014

Jennifer Maddrell has moved her blog from Drupal to Wordpress, and as a result, changed her RSS feed address. As Feedly reports that I'm the first subscriber to the new feed, it seems relevant to post the news here. (p.s. I totally understand the move from Drupal, and like her, find it so much harder to work with than necessary).

Are Instructional Designers Making Themselves Irrelevant?
Dawn Poulos, Xyleme, April 14, 2014

Interesting question to which the answer may be 'yes'. Dawn Poulos suggests, "Being static means being stale, and for instructional designers, stale content is the fastest road to irrelevancy." In fact, the discipline is changing, as exemplified by this list of 'aha moments':

  • "Aha!" Moment No. 1: Reusing Content is a Game Changer"
  • "Aha!" Moment No. 2: I Can Share My Content Outside the L&D Organization"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 3: Collaboration Lets Us Deliver Better Content Faster"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 4: Yes, I Really Can Personalize Learning Content"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 5: Structure Provides Flexibility"

What do you get if you actually implement these five principles? I would argue that you get a cMOOC. But your mileage may vary. Here's the full report (you will have to pay for it with your social network information).

LMS Metaphors
Tom Woodward, Bionic Teaching, April 14, 2014

This is an interesting look at the metaphors used to describe the Learning Management System (LMS), including a reference to a fun paper from 2007 describing the ways people described Blackboard ("The metaphors of ‘tree branches,’ ‘7/11 store,’ ‘river of information,’ ‘fun game,’ and ‘light bulb revolution’ reveal the communication, information, educational, political, and philosophical aspects of Blackboard cyberinfrastructure implementation... the educational usage of Blackboard did not emerge as the most prominent rationality for Blackboard"). Tom Woodward suggests here that " the LMS is a fast-food franchise kitchen. It does exactly what it is meant to do. It is built for people with minimal skills to make cheap food quickly at scale. It isn’t meant to be a training ground so people can move up to gourmet cooking. These skills don’t transfer. You aren’t even meant to graduate to being a line cook at Friday’s." Heh.

A Breakup Letter to Facebook from Eat24
Lydia Leavitt, Eat24, April 14, 2014

Part of the problem with social media is that being profitable and making money do not mix well together. Witness Eat24's breakup letter to Facebook: "Not to be rude, but you aren’t the smart, funny social network we fell in love with several years back. You’ve changed. A lot. When we first met, you made us feel special. We’d tell you a super funny joke about Sriracha and you’d tell all our friends and then everyone would laugh together. But now? Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends." Via TNW.

All the passwords you should change because of Heartbleed, in one handy graphic
Harrison Weber, VB, April 14, 2014

*Sigh* "Heartbleed arose inside a version of open-source OpenSSL cryptographic software. Information sitting inside the memory of a server should be encrypted, but a little bit of data could be pulled out under an attack. Most recently, a report emerged alleging that the U.S. National Security Agency had known about Heartbleed for more than two years, and even exploited it. The NSA later denied the allegations." OLDaily and MOOC.ca users are not affected by the OpenSSL bug.

Paying for publication
Danny Kingsley, Australian Open Access Support Group, April 14, 2014

The Australian Open Access Support Group has posted a good series of articles on issues related to paying for open access publication. On this model, commonly called the 'Gold Model', authors or institutions pay publishers fees up front to process and make available the article as open access (by contrast, the 'Green Model' proposes that institutions manage their own article repositories). Many funding agencies, including the NHMRC and ARC in Australia, require that outcomes be published as open access.

Topics covered in the series include "the cost of hybridaddressing double dipping, a discussion about whether open access funds support open access, and a look at what hybrid actually pays for. There is also an analysis of the membership model for open access publishing with a discussion of the attendant issues relating to managing article processing charges."

Rebuilding a Reader
Clarence Fisher, Remote Access, April 14, 2014
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I complained at length to a Google representative today about this, so Clarence Fisher's comment is timely: "When Google declared war on RSS and the open web by killing off their reader it was a heavy blow for deep thinking and for blogging. At first, I didn’t miss it. I still had twitter after all. But over time, I began to realize that relying on twitter only for what I was going to read and learn was like relying on the remote control of my TV. It put me too much at the whim of other people and things I just happened to see."

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
Videos: http://www.downes.ca/me/videos.htm
RSS Feed: http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.xml
Podcast: http://www.downes.ca/news/audio.xml

Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)

(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)

Recent Popular Articles

The Purpose of Learning, February 2, 2011.
The Role of the Educator, December 6, 2010.
Deinstitutionalizing Education, November 5, 2010.
Agents Provocateurs, October 28, 2010.
What Is Democracy In Education, October 22, 2010.
A World To Change, October 19, 2010.
Connectivism and Transculturality, May 16, 2010.
An Operating System for the Mind, September 19, 2009.
The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
Critical Thinking in the Classroom, June 5, 2009.
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, November 16, 2008.
Things You Really Need to learn: http://www.downes.ca/post/38502

Social Network

Twitter: http://twitter.com/downes
Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/Downes/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/downes
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen_downes/
Google: http://www.google.com/profiles/sfdownes
Blip.tv: http://downes.blip.tv/
Contact: stephen@downes.ca Stephen.Downes@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
Skype: Downes


About Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".

At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.

Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Biographie

Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.

Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.

Vision Statement

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.


Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

My calendar

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