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by Stephen Downes
January 26, 2009

University of the People - Providing Low Cost Online Degree Courses Worldwide
Email advertising blanketed the edublogs community today (I got four) announcing the 'University of the People', purportedly the "the world's first tuition-free, internet-based academic institution." The New York Times, which also got the same press release, channels it uncritically into an article. The term "tuition-free" is just a nicety; students will still have to pay to register and take tests. The term "university" is also a misnomer; it still seeks accreditation. None of this means that the venture won't work. It's just you don't get to call yourself "first" until you've actually done what you say you've done.. Seb Schmoller, Fortnightly Mailing, January 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Wish #1: Taking Kids' Out of School Time Seriously
I quite agree with Eduwonkette here, which is why much more of my attention is directed toward informal learning and social equity. She writes, "Even if all kids attended schools of identical quality, we would still see inequality in educational outcomes by socioeconomic status because of the 87% conundrum. Home learning environments, it turns out, are much more unequal than school environments." Solutions like pre-school and an extended school day don't really address the issue, though, partially because of the resource implications and partially because time spent out of school would still dominate. eduwonkette, Ed Week, January 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Rapid Authoring for Immersive Games and Sims
Clive Shepherd writes about Caspian Learning's Thinking Worlds, the first tool that I know of to support the rapid creation of immersive, single-player 3D worlds for learning." It's not going to be cheap, though. Clive Shepherd, Clive on Learning, January 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

New Web Site, Evolving Us
Blackboard has launched a new website and posted a release describing what it calls its evolving mission. Basically, the release depicts Blackboard as having three major units: the learning platform, the transactions platform, and the alert and notification platform. Michael Chasen, Blackboard, January 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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