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by Stephen Downes
January 15, 2009

Web 2.0 Nightmare, Part 1: a Sell-Out, Who Knew?
There is a part two (here). As ReadWriteWeb complains, "As we all know, time and again it (Web 2.0) turns into just another ad platform to sell lowest common denominator mass marketed commercial trash." What's more, these services are proving to be more than a little fly-by-night. Even as SqoolTube advertises an index of educational video on YouTube, the video hosting site started gutting its content without so much as a by-your-leave, dropping the audio from any video deemed in violation of copyright. No word on how this determination was made and no mention, of course, of fair use. This has resulted in what Infocult calls a creepily quiet YouTube. And many of the site's most popular phenomena have been silenced.

Meanwhile, Google is shuttering Google Video, Notebook, Catalogues, Dodgeball and Jaiku. Hope you weren't using those services. Cole Camplese comments, "What happens if Yahoo jumps out of the delicious or Flickr business? I (and a boat load of others) would be SOL." There's no impact on Reader, but it doesn't make money either - and if your Feedburner RSS feeds stop making money - or are deemed to be violating copyright - do you think Google will leave them untouched? Web 2.0 is full of fantastic technologies - but why oh why must people learn the same lessons about corporations over and over again? "A few of us old dudes saw this sad moment coming. The best thing about aging is preemptive disillusionment." Yes, but also: I back up everything at home, and run my own web server. Because I want Web 2.0 without the heartache. Brian Lamb, abject learning, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

The $300 Million Button
I have long complained about pointless registration requirements on content sites; it's nice to see the cost of requiring a registration quantified. If your revenues are based on anything other than selling your user data, registration is harming your site. Jared M. Spool, User Interface Engineering, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

When the Education Bubble Finally Pops

The image speaks for itself. Interesting note about the timing: 1981 is the year I first got involved in the issue of access to education, publishing a front page story in the Gauntlet decrying cuts to what was then called Established Programs Financing. More. James, Jam Today, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Steering QR Cash to Elite Could Be a Mistake
According to this item, "Research funding should be spread across a much wider range of universities than just the traditional research elite." I agree. In our field I see quality work being done in small universities, colleges, school divisions and school boards - none of which qualifies in any significant way for substantial research funding. John Gill, Times Higher Education, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

On Open, Distance, E-Learning and Other Name Confusion
This is a nice and historically grounded discussion of the meaning of 'open education' and related terms. Anderson is quite right to bring up the 'father of American Distance Education' Charles Wedemeyer. He writes, "Wedemeyer was a tireless advocate and proponent of often revolutionary notions of higher education. He argued that formal education should and could expand to provide educational access and opportunity to everyone, everywhere, anytime. Even today, few institutions come close to meeting the 10 characteristics of Open Learning that he described in his 1981 book Learning at the Back Door." Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Play With Our OPML. Seriously.
The OpenCourseWare Consortium has made available an OPML file listing the RSS feeds of member institutions. The feeds themselves contain lists of the courses that are available. It's a good idea, but it's pretty static. Still - I'm sure I can do with that OPML... Mike Caulfield, OCW Blog, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Stallman at the University of Moncton
Richard Stallman is coming to the University of Moncton January 28. "Dr. Stallman is a renowned computer scientist who launched the development of the well known free GNU operating system in 1984. The talk is aimed at the general computer-using public and is not intended to be technical... Richard Stallman will speak about the Free Software Movement, which campaigns for freedom so that computer users can cooperate to control their own computing activities." Various Authors, University of Moncton, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

David Weinberger points to Scitable, 'a collaborative learning space for science undergraduates.' It's got articles, online class tools, teacher collaborative tools, student collaborative tools, discussion areas, consultable experts... I haven't yet gone through it all." Most access is free range, but if you dig deeper - into the "learning paths," for example, Scitable will require you (for no good reason) to register. Still. This is an impressive website, and almost instantly one of the best genetics destinations on the internet. David Wwinberger, Joho the Blog, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Supercomputing in Plain English
On the free course front, take a look at this Oklahoma University course on supercomputing. The course has run for several years and the materials are made freely accessible on the web, and course workshops are offered (mostly) weekly through a variety of synchronous media, including access grid and EVO. If you're wondering what such a course would cover, have a look at these introductory slides. Henry Neeman, Oklahoma University, January 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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