New Learning, New Society

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Uncovering The Secret History Of Myers-Briggs
Merve Emre, Digg, Oct 10, 2015

I'm not sure exactly what to make of this item, but I can't resist passing it along. Sure, Myers-Briggs has had its criticisms in the past, but I haven't seen anything quite like this. "Reading through the earliest drafts of the type indicator, now carefully filed away in Hay's personal papers at Cornell University, I am perhaps more surprised than I should be by its racial overtones, its sexism," writes

Google wants to speed up the mobile web with AMP project
Cassandra Khaw, Ars Technica, Oct 10, 2015

I greet this development with cautious optimism. In a bid to respond to services like Facebook's 'instant articles' Google and Twitter are releasing an open framework that acceperates web and (especially) mobile delivery of articles. It does things like auto-caching, single-load Javascript, and the like. The consensus is that the optimal load time for a web page is 'instantly'. "How much quicker is "instantly"? According to Google, early testing with with a simulated 3G connection and a simulated Nexus 5 showed improvements of between 15 to 85 percent." See also the Official Google Blog.

Higher Education for the Sustainable Future We Want
Contact North, Oct 10, 2015

This 9 page PDF document places higher education into the wider social context. "It is clear that 'business as usual' and 'more of the same' are not what is intended here. To meet the commitments and the expectations they give rise to, education systems are challenged to think differently and much more inclusively about their future." It identifies five major challenges to be met (quoted):

  • Committing to Equity in Outcomes and in Access
  • Rethinking What We Teach so as to Support Sustainable Development
  • Strengthening and Expanding the Use of Online, Open and Flexible Education
  • Supporting and Extending Learning for Life and Lifelong Learning
  • Strengthening Collaboration and Co-Operation

It's hard to argue with any of those in principle, but the challenges, as they say, are always in the details.


Refugees To Receive Free Education From Online University
Joseph Erbentraut, Huffington Post, Oct 10, 2015

I think this is a good initiative. "The Berlin-based Kiron University has partnered with more than 20 universities throughout the world in order to offer a free, three-year program that will grant students an internationally accredited degree."

The eCOTOOL Competence Model
Cleo Sgouropoulou, Charalampos Thanopoulos, Christian M. Stracke, Simon Grant, Carolyn Owen, Lenka Fišerová, eCOTOOL, Oct 10, 2015

This is probably far more detail than you require in a competence model, but if you wanted to map every related aspect of a com[petence, this is probably what you would arrive at. "The eCOTOOL Competence Model is a general purpose model covering both the internal structure of a definition of competence, skill, ability, or similar concept, and structures of these. It was developed to achieve more functionality in a more general way than purely within a Europass Certificate Supplement."

Onlea, Oct 10, 2015

I got an interesting press release from Onlea in my email today (I looked for it on the site but it doesn't seem to be available). They are (self-styled as) "the world's first MOOC production company" (I have my doubts, but that's OK). But that's not what caught my eye. This is: Onlea is extremely grateful to be selected as the production company by Canada’s 19th prime minister, Right Honourable Kim Campbell, in her innovative approach to blended learning for students in the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. Onlea has produced the Foundations of Leadership blended course within Articulate integrated to the Blackboard platform. Watch the preview video of Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell." More about Kim Campbell.


Micro-credential badges becoming a serious commodity
Matt Zalaznick, University Business, Oct 10, 2015

Badges are quietly becoming mainstream. As this article notes, a number of universities are now offering them "as a form of micro-credential or 'subdegree' to students who pass individual courses or certifications, and want to show potential employers what they’ve learned." The badges can be posted to LinkedIn or to e-portfolios and offer details about the course or sub-program completed.

Photos from Pompeii
Stephen Downes, Flickr, Oct 10, 2015


Links and Resources

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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:

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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.


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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