New Today

Twitter Is Tracking Users’ Installed Apps for Ad Targeting
Jack Marshall, Wall Street Journal | Digits, Nov 29, 2014

So now Twitter is spying on you. Surprised? "Twitter is now collecting information about the apps installed on users’ devices in order to better target and tailor advertising and other content to them."

Affiliation and Ignite
Chris Kennedy, Culture of Yes, Nov 29, 2014

This is a pretty key statement, I think: "Our profession will not be mandated into meeting the needs of modern learners but the power of networks and new thinking around affiliation can help diffuse the work." It is the way we work as individuals, and work with learners as individuals, that will define the new structures of learning. This isn't atomism or individualism in some sort of Ayn Rand sense; rather, it's redefining the institution from being some sort of large structure into some sort of more nimble network.

Worried about the privatisation of public education and research? - Go to the Commons
Leigh Blackall, Weblog, Nov 29, 2014

The point behind this brief post is to ensure that authors get the critical elements of their work into the open commons before submitting it in such a way that would lead to it being locked down behind a paywall. "Some researchers and teachers who are concerned about their publicly funded research reports, teaching materials and data becoming locked into restrictive publishing arrangements, are using the Commons to develop and publish the elements of the project before going to the private publishers." Another way of looking at it: you can feel less concerned about publishing using a commercial publisher if the major elements of your work are inj the commons.

Love in the Time of Peer Review
The Editorial Board, Hybrid Pedagogy, Nov 29, 2014

This is basically my view: "In her presentation about open peer review at the 2014 OpenEd conference, Eva Amsen challenged her audience by asking: 'Why are people so mean?' She argues that allowing the public to see the review process, and allowing readers to know their reviewers, demands that the reviewers be nicer and more human, a stark contrast from traditional academic peer review." Funny thing, when I suggested such a thing to a group recently, the response was, "people don't want to put their stuff out into the open before it has been vetted." The perception was that the public, as opposed to the peer review board, would be mean. Or, maybe, that the latter would at least be mean in private.

Business Education Faces a Challenging and Disruptive Future, finds Global Research
Press Release, EMFP, Nov 29, 2014

According to this report: "Traditional business education models are being disrupted by technology, the introduction of MOOCs, market competition, university fees and increasingly demanding employer and employee needs, finds a wide-ranging new report called See the Future."

Guidelines for completing the VMPass learning passport
Grainne Conole,, Nov 29, 2014

I'm seeing more and more initiatives along these lines these days. "The VMPass project is developing an accreditation framework for informal and non-formal learning through resources such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). The accreditation is achieved through completion of a learning passport." So the passport is in many ways similar to the concept of the badge (except, it's a passport). There are three sections that need to be filled out for a credential (visa?): one section by the learning provider, one by the student, and one by the assessing/certifying institution. Here's an example.

Online Quizzes Are Data Goldmines for Marketers
Jack Marshall, Wall Street Journal Blogs, Nov 29, 2014

For a short period over the summer I was completely addicted to the online quizzes shared by sites like Facebook - things like "what world leader are you most like", for example - but as fall came it was almost as though they stopped trying to write interesting quizzes and became blatant attempts to collect data. Which is what they are: blatant attempts to collect data. Although for some companies - the article mentions Buzzfeed in particular - it's about collecting traffic, not collecting data.

Building Tomorrow’s Learning Experience:Personalized, Predictive and Connected
Wayne McCulloch, eLearning, Nov 29, 2014

"The world is fast becoming social, automated and more specialized than in the past, and a key factor of the evolution is consumerization of learning." I'm not sure I like the word 'consumerization' of learning, because it suggests a commercialized system driven by markets and advertising. That would be a risky development indeed. Our food distribution system, which is also based on consumerization, leaves some children morbidly obese and at the same time leaves large numbers of children malnourished and even starving. So we need to do better in education (and, for that matter, fix our food distribution system). At the same time, the idea of one education for all (or one diet for all!) is unpalatable. And that's what's changing - different people are getting the education they need, and not some centrally designed standardized fare. That's a good thing. The trick is to get the good without the bad.

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
RSS Feed:

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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