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by Stephen Downes
September 20, 2007

$1 Cdn = $1 US
Just as I am about to embark on a trip to the United States (I leave Saturday) the Canadian dollar - fondly known as the 'Loonie' - is now worth the same as the U.S. dollar. This afternoon, for the first time since I was a teenager, it was worth more than the U.S. dollar. I'll leave the explanations to others (you can imagine what my own views are) and satisfy myself with observing that it means that the Canadian eLearning Enterprise Alliance (CeLEA) delegation, which will be well represented at the Brandon Hall conference next week, will have to come up with an innovative angle, since we can't sell Canadian e-learning on the basis of low cost any more. I was thinking: Canadian e-learning: expensive, but worth it. Meanwhile, OLDaily's price will not be affected by the currency change. Unattributed, CBC News September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Information Literacy Professional Development Portal
OK, before I developed a portal, I would ask, "When is the last time I visited a portal?" And if the answer is in months, rather than years, I would ask, "What was it? What was I trying to accomplish?" I say it this way because - unless YouTibe is considered a portal - I haven't actually been to a portal for a very long time. Like, maybe, years. Which means that, even if you build a portal, if you want it to be used, you will have to think of it as something other than a portal. Like what? A feed? A community? A network? A channel? So if you want to promote information literacy - something I support - then something other than a portal is probably the way to go. Donna Ddesroches, The Illuminated Dragon September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Toward a Model of Experiential E-Learning
This is an interesting enough paper in that it nicely summarizes experiential e-learning (sometimes called EE Learning), grounding it in the work of people like Carver and Cantor, who writes that "experiential education involves learning activities in which the student is directly engaged in the phenomena being studied." The author offers a taxonomy, which could be easily extended with a little reflection, and identifies as central concepts things like agency, belongingness and competence. The example offered is a bit of a stretch, though: the author describes graduate student engaging in EE learning by participating in the creation of an online course. While I appreciate recursion jokes as much as the next person, I thought this was a bit much. The thing with experiential learning is that it is not schooling, and should take place in a context that is not a school. Rebecca Carver, Robert King, Wallace Hannum and Brady Fowler, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Blogging Across the Disciplines: Integrating Technology to Enhance Liberal Learning
Discussion of the use of blogs in the classroom, including a study of a particular classroom. The most interesting aspects were the discussion of gender differences (males had no problems with the technology, but females reported problems) and the argument that blogging promotes "liberal education goals". I find it interesting to look at the bibliography in papers like this to look at the whole range of alternative - and arguably derivative - scholarship we find in academic papers, as compared to what we see in the blogosphere itself. Via Accidental Pedagogy. More articles from the most recent Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Angelique Davi, Mark Frydenberg and Girish J. Gulati, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Grazr 2.0 Beta - Drag'n'Drop Feed Management
Dran-and-drop is good, especially when it works, and even more when it does a useful task, like feed management. Tony Hirst describes Grazr's new drag-and-drop feed management system to create a widget that displays feed contents. The really interesting stuff comes in once we talk about feed autodiscovery. But "Adam explained to me patiently (yet again) how autodiscovery just confuses the majority of people who don't get the difference between feeds and web pages anyway (and don't we all know how true that is!)." Tony Hirst, OUseful Info September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Links to E-Learning, Teaching and Learning Activity
This is a useful service - but the problem is you're submitting your stuff to their database. I have always felt that conference information should be posted as RSS feeds, that can then be aggregated by any service that wants to list the conferences. Anyhow, we see links to teaching and learning conferences, as well as e-learning conferences. Though personally I think that the conference lists published by Clayton R. Wright (and posted here) are more complete. Helge Scherlund, Links to E-learning, Teaching and Learning Activity September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

OER - Open Educational Resources
Very short but accessible post outlining the idea of Open Educational Resources, with some links to background info. Good for people new to the concept. Jeff Cobb, Mission to Learn September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

IBM Lotus Symphony
The best comment I heard about IBM's new Symphony suite of (free) applications is that it is intended to make you forget about the old one. "Business, academic, governmental and consumer users alike can download this enterprise-grade office software, which is the same tool inside some of IBM's most popular collaboration products, such as the recently released Lotus 8." The Suite is probably best thought of as an update of the old Star Office, a Java-based set of applications intended mostly (but not exclusively) for a Linux user. I'm inclined to try out this suite, but they require you to register before you can access it, and you know how I feel about that - in my view, registration is a form of payment (especially since I'll be deleting the spam from here to Sunday). Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The End of Content-Centric Business Models
Should be obvious, but it (still) bears repeating: "All business models must be based on something that is legitimately scarce. Today, no matter how expensive it is to make, content will become freely available quickly." Harold Jarche, Weblog September 20, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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