Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [About] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
July 26, 2007

Creative Commons has created 'CC Learn' and staffed it with Board members (all Americans, of course), including Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales. I am supportive of open educational resources, as most people know, and I am supportive of Creative Commons - but I am apprehensive about this new organization, which has been formed without any (apparent) consultation or process. Long-time readers will recall some of Creative Commons's previous forays into education, including the proposal for special 'education' licenses. This to me looks more like the commercial publishers trying to redefine 'free' in such a way as to allow them to take free resources and sell them commercially. That's usually what language like this means: "Worse, much of the OER currently being created is incompatible - legally, technically, and socially - with other OER." I'd like to see some sort of open decision-making process, to keep the (paid) lobbyists at bay - but while I've always been supportive of Creative Commons, I've never really seen that democracy was one of its strong suits. Various Authors, Creative Commons July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Wagering In Second Life: New Policy
Well, there goes the Second Life economy. Linden Labs has just banned gambling and wagering in the online virtual world. This puts an end to the casinos users found scattered throughout the game. While addressing one issue, though, the move raises another issue - governance. Because the policy change simply came down from above, just like that - no vote, no nothing. There's going to be a lot of fallout over this. Robin Linden, Second Life July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Serendipity 2.0: Missing Third Places of Learning
Cleaning out my mailbox today as I get ready for the big Privacy, Security and Trust conference here in Moncton next week. I've been keeping this presentation from Teemu Arina on file because I want to pay proper attention to his discussion of "third places of learning running outside of the reach of formal structures." Teemu Arina, Tarina July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Revisiting the Potential of Free Content
The author argues that "releasing OERs under a licence restricting commercial use of the content creates unnecessary restrictions and should be avoided wherever possible." It seems to me that there is a real push to allow commercial exploitation of freely produced learning resources - since the only people who are inconvenienced by this are corporations, should we wonder where this argument is coming from? The corporations are using their considerable lobbying power to make their case directly to the foundations and the funding agencies, including the Commonwealth of Learning. It's like they can't understand the concept of free educational resources - that is to say, available at no charge. The point of open educational resources isn't to create wealth for some publishing company. It isn't to tack some 'open for business' sign at the entrance to our brains. Neil Butcher, Commonwealth of Learning July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

eGenerations and the Rest
I've been sent numerous things to look at and beta test recently. eGenerations is one, though I'm not impressed that the URL sent me to Another is PabBee, video instant messaging - Sanskrit, anyone? Friction TV, meanwhile, is a place where people can upload video debates - or at least, their side of a video debate. Also, Yippykya "is a new social networking website where its members (YIPPYs) can feature their talents and turn their hobbies into careers." Um, YIPPYS? Oh, and let's not forget Pownce, which is doing the personal invitation thing (I have 6 invites remaining). I also got an invitation to a WetPaint community, but by the time I got to it, the community was gone (sorry Tim). And I should mention Ron Passfield's Squidoo page on learning resources. I also got a press release from WeAreTeachers, "a new online teaching, learning and business network that will forever change the profession and business of teaching." Mm hm. Also, Zoho wrote again to let me know of the Creator 2.0 release. This is a company that should be watched closely. Another email came in from Chuala, which is "fostering collaboration between language learners and groups trying to preserve languages." I've advised them in the past. MyTVPal sent me a media information package. Graham Attwell wrote to me about the JISC Emerge community on ELGG, which looks worthwhile (no RSS though). None of this is junk mail, and it's all appreciated - but if you send me something and I don't get a chance to look at it (or link to it) in any detail I hope you'll understand. Various Authors, Website July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Having, Being and Higher Education
The authors argue, "British higher education is being transformed by marketisation that has accompanied its expansion.... learners and the institutions they attend look only to satisfy a consumer culture." Hard to argue when you read stuff like this: "In September 2007 a full colour booklet is sent to all staff... 'Higher Education is changing - and so must we'. It goes on to warn that 'Competition is increasing'; 'students are becoming more demanding'; and that: 'we need to communicate in a consistent and engaging way'. It presents a new corporate logo, positioning statement and institutional 'core values'. It concludes that 'it is up to all of us to deliver on the brand' and to 'bring the brand to life in everything we do'." Via Joe Flinthan, who responds here. Mike Molesworth, Communities: Consumption and marketing July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Online Public Consultation On the OECD Ministerial Meeting On the Future of the Internet Economy
According to the email I received, the last time this thing was held it "set out domestic priorities in this area and has guided such policies over the last ten years" (so much for the idea that these policies are set democratically). Anyhow, there's a new one coming up and this time they are asking for input through an online consultation process. I had a quick look at the questionnaire - the questions are open-ended, which means a proper response will take time. Will it be read and respected? Who knows? Money and power tend to have their way with such processes - but if the process is kept open and accountable, then we can at least see these mechanisms at work, and respond appropriately. And while I'm linking to consultations, you can also participate in a public consultation questionnaire issued by the European Commission. See also the European Rights Enforcement Directive. Unattributed, OECD July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Ideas to Shake Up Publishing
University publishers look at the challenges of publishing online - but they cannot get past the idea that they have to sell books, nor can they look beyond the infrastructure they have developed. "'You have to develop systems for publishing electronically, the kinds of standards you are going to put materials into, you need document designs, you have to have access control systems to let people in [to search and read], and you have to have authoring tools that tag the stuff in certain ways so they can talk to each other,' she said. So each chapter of a book might need a summary, subject tags and so forth - all in ways that are accepted as an industry standard." Who says? Why didn't the authors of the Ithaka study look at the Gutenberg Project? All you need to publish a book online is a plain-text ASCII file. Everything else is upselling. (The article links to the Ithaka study, but the study is not accessible online without an account.) Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Privileged Peer Review - Whose Opinion Counts?
George Siemens responds to concerns that his work, including his book on connectivism, has not been peer reviewed. My own response is similar to his: peer review is not the only way of ensuring quality, and it's not even a good way of ensuring quality. It takes too long and the process is conducted in secret. And there's no reason to believe that a small group of experts can assess quality any better - and more fairly - than an open and public assessment by anyone who cares to read the item in question. George Siemens, Connectivism Blog July 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]


This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.