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Interesting. "Learning Locker provides a destination where users can create a personal locker housing their learning data that they can then put to work for them. The data comes from a variety of sources including the web and any learning platform that exports Tin Can statements." Of course, for this to work well, you need not only to be able to export your data, but also to make it available (via an API, perhaps) to learning and other applications. Anyhow, this is a good idea, and Dave Tosh certainly has the background in e-learning to understand how it should work.
Interesting thought experiment. "If there were no students fees and higher education were free, what would that do to MOOCs? I mean, obviously it'll never happen... oh, wait, Germany just abolished student fees. Yeah, but what do they know about running an economy, right?" If I were in Germany, would my priorities be changed? I'm not sure, partially because MOOCs are as much about alternative pedagogy as they are about access (but, crucially, they are about access, and that thought is never far from my mind). But in a world of free? Most likely, as Holden comments, "possibly, MOOCs as support and community around traditional classes?" Because access isn't just about opening doors, it's also about makiing sure people are successful once they enter.
Dave Cormier follows my post last week to the MOOC Quality Project with a discussion "on the motives of different vested interests and their relationship to MOOCs." It's a good examination of the many perceptions of 'quality' and 'success' related to MOOCs. "I think it is critical that we understand the ways in which different interest groups will judge the ‘quality’ of that experience for the convenor (and their sponsors)," he writes. "What are we all in it for? What is the difference between a pat on the back and a failure for each of the different groups convening MOOCs?"
Koos, who must have seen my presentation Against Digital Research Methodologies, referred me to this stream: #overlyhonestmethods. There's also an article in the Guardian, here from last January. "scientists from all four corners of the twitterverse have not just dismantled that pure-of-thought image but demolished it with repeated 140-character salvos all bearing the hashtag #overlyhonestmethods... It all started with a neuropharmacologist researcher and blogger called Leigh when she tweeted "incubation lasted three days because this is how long the undergrad forgot the experiment in the fridge." There's 'scientific method', which is pure and abstract and unreal, and then there is science which, like me, muddles along. More: coverage from I, Science, also, the browser of a scientist, also, Tumblr images.
I think educational institutions can learn a great deal from the strategy adopted by Canada's National Film Board in 2007 to digitize its collection and move into the field of new media. "At home and abroad, the organization is fusing Canada’s traditional strengths in documentary and communications technology with its newer reputation as a new-media leader to build a uniquely accessible cultural institution dedicated to storytelling and democratic dialogue." It's hard to overstate what is happening in Canadian public media. Take a measure of Chris Hadfield, add some sniffing bears from the NFB, and add a good dose of Radio 3 attitude, and you have a uniquely forward-looking landscape. Canadian educational institutions should be in the middle of this (and so should we at NRC), not standing on the sidelines.
According to this report, "a new peering arrangement being signed today between Microsoft and Janet, the UK’s research and education network." Essentially the agreement is to provide cloud access to Microsoft products; "any UK education institution can benefit from standard terms and conditions on Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity software suite Office 365." In the comments, we read also that janet "are already working on deals with Google and Dropbox – see https://www.ja.net/products-services/janet-cloud-services." In general, this seems like a good plan, especially if UK universities are able to save millions of pounds. But there is also good reason to be cautios when you see reports like this stating that "government is currently over-reliant on a small 'oligopoly' of large suppliers (and) benchmarking studies have demonstrated that government pays substantially more for IT when compared to commercial rates."
According to this University Affairs article, "the B.C. government said it will make available up to 20 free and open online textbooks for some of the most popular first- and second-year university and college courses... it has committed $1 million to fund the venture. BCcampus, the provincial agency overseeing the project, is rolling it out in phases. It recently released a list of the 40 most highly enrolled first- and second-year subject areas for which it is sourcing textbooks. It also identified 10 existing open textbooks, mainly first-year introductory texts. The agency issued a call for proposals to faculty members and teaching assistants to peer review the books and is making available an evaluation rubric to use for the reviews." The proposal received a good response from Tony Bates, who calls the idea "shrwed," especially as it implicates faculty in review and selection. It is estimated to save students $1000 per year. No response from publishers in the article.
Links and Resources(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
RSS Feed: http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.xml
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
Contact: email@example.com Stephen.Downes@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
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.
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.