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by Stephen Downes
November 12, 2008

Theoretical Frameworks for Researching OER
One line from this caught my eye: "Only theories provide transferability." Specifically, "theories are almost by definition applicable across contexts in that the validity of any theoretical principle is assessed precisely by how well it can account for the research findings in a variety of contexts." Well, it's one thing to say that theories are adjudged according to their wide applicability. But it does not follow that only theories provide transferability (from All A are B it does not follow that all B are A). The reason I raise this is that I have seen it asserted that academic work must be placed into a 'theoretical framework' as determined by 'the literature'. Which, to me, is justified only by mistaken reasoning such as we see here. Stian, Random Stuff That Matters, November 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

President Obama
The key take-home from the Obama victory is probably one people least want to hear: we have to do it ourselves. "The opportunity is not to create the next great website for modeling bottom-up community activity, but to go and actually do the stuff. It is to participate the public school, work towards alternative energy possibilities, design and install bicycle lanes, argue at work for equal pay for women, assist local agriculture projects, develop complementary currencies and non-profit credit unions." The same goes for learning: if you actually want to learn things, then go out and do the learning. If you wait for someone to provide it for you, you will wait for a very long time (and when provided, the learning will serve their agendas, not yours). Via Dave Pollard. Douglas Rushkoff, Weblog, November 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

CCK08: Connecting for Change: The New Role of Educators

This diagram is gaining some traction in the educational blogosphere. I'm not sure I would call the centre social fluency, but there is definitely a sense of literacy and fluency in the confluence between knowledge, thinking and communication. As an aside, I would people would be clear about the difference between the indefinite article (a basis for change, which is what communities actually are; or a great value of networks, which it actually is) and the definite article (the basis for change, which is what communities are not; or the great value of networks, which is actually is not). Dave Pollard, How To Save The World, November 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Am I Missing the Point On Open Educational Resources?
First of all, I doubt Brian Lamb is missing the point on open Educational Resources. "In the early brainstorming discussions, I staked out something of a confrontational stance... that higher education is still conducting its business as if information is scarce when we now live in an era of unprecedented information abundance... But other than a simple faith that using and diffusing simple, open tools represents a vast improvement over current educational "best practices"... I really don't have a clear sense of how to think of and promote useful OERs as something other than content..." Brian Lamb, abject learning, November 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

European Research - What Is Happening Online?
Intute staff send a survey to academic mailing lists in Europe and, based on 145 self-selected respondents, obtain a snapshot of sorts. Not surprisingly (given that they sampled email lists) "Web 2.0 has yet to be widely adopted by the sample of respondents." Also not surprisingly, the Europa website was the most used along with a list of sites including Intute. I am still unsure of the mechanism that translates "anonymous, unsupported and uncited opinion" into "interesting qualitative feedback." How would I improve the survey? Telephone academics randomly in their offices to generate a random sample. Ensure adequate representation in both number and diversity. Do not cite context-free 'qualitative' statements in isolation from each other, not even in news reports. Publish in an open access journal, not one that requires that you sign up to their spam lists before access is granted. Angela Joyce, Intute, November 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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