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by Stephen Downes
June 17, 2009

MIT Tops List of College Copyright Violators
I'm not sure whether I actually believe the statistics in this report released by Bay-TSP, a company that tracks instances of clients' works appearing online in various file sharing networks (notice the wording - an appearance of a work will count as a 'hit' even if it is an instance of fair use, so we should not say they are tracking "violations" of copyright). You'd never know from the Chronicle coverage, but the report not only ranks hits at U.S. universities, it also ranks them by country. And it's interesting to note that Canada is far down the list, far lower, even, than the United states. So much for our supposedly 'lax' copyright laws causing 'infringements'. Erica Hendry, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Is e-learning failing in higher education?
Tony Bates notes, "The World Economic Forum's Global Advisory Committee on Technology and Education at its meeting in Dubai (November, 2008) commented: 'Education is in a state of transition from a traditional model to one where technology plays an integral role. However, technology has not yet transformed education.'" Perhaps not, but one wonders whether that is the fault of educational technology, or whether that is the fault of governments and entities like the World Economic Forum. Because from where I sit, far from the seat of power, I see a lot of transformation and change, but also, a lot of resistance and caterwauling from the top. he writes, "Terry Anderson commented in his blog that he was saddened by Canada's 'lost decade in e-learning'." From my perspective, in my work, it has been a very productive decade. Yes, I understand the concerns being raised by Bates - but in the analysis to follow, let's look at all sides in the discussion. Tony Bates, Weblog, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Start Your Decision Engines
I don't know whether anything will come of this - those web 2.0 applications just seem so old-fashioned suddenly - but Flickr creator Caterina Fake has launched a site called, a sort of crowd-sourced way of answering questions (samples included 'what football teach should I cheer for?' and 'where should I eat in San Francisco?'). Alexis Matsu, theBivingsReport, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Twitter Search in Plain English
It's OK, I suppose, but the three minute video doesn't tell you how to limit search to a region, nor does it explain how to create hashtags (it gives the sense that they're just out there, not that you can simply start using any old hashtag you want), and it doesn't mention Twitter search RSS feeds. Lee LeFever, CommonCraft, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The nine tribes of the internet
You may as well see this here before someone feeds it to you in a keynote. The 'nine tribes' are fairly arbitrary, and the data (as is normal for Pew) reflectes American sources (and sensibilities) only. The major division is between those who are hooked into the mobile world and those who are not. The rest of the divisions reflect the degree of dependence people have on the media. I wouldn't say they are 'tribes' in any real sense - there would be no sense of affiliation with other members, for example, except perhaps among the "digital collaborators". Lee Rainie, Slideshare, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Falling Behind Facebook, MySpace Slashes Workforce
I've never understood this. The company is lagging and can't keep up, so they take an action that will make it even harder to keep up. Just saying... Richard Adhikari, E-Commerce Times, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Glogster and Schooltube Partner Up
From the press release: "The partnership allows the students and teachers using Glogster EDU - now more than 450,000 around the world - to share their Glogs using the popular SchoolTube sharing site, and also allows them to easily import multimedia elements found on the SchoolTube site into their Glogs. All student-created materials on SchoolTube must be approved by registered teachers, follow local school guidelines, and adhere to the company's high standards." Steve Dembo, Teach 42, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Conference Board of Canada Issues Statement on IP Reports
The Conference Board of Canada has issued the appropriate mea culpa: "Plagiarism did occur, and it wasn't detected due to insufficient oversight of this project. The evidence indicates there was undue reliance on feedback from a funder who was deemed to have important technical expertise. We failed to seek similar feedback from a broad range of stakeholders. The report relied heavily on too few sources and lacked sufficient balance. Moreover, the reports did not follow our internal quality review process. Overall, there was inadequate monitoring of this entire project." A new report will be authored. Michael Geist, Weblog, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The day Twitter kicked CNN's behind & @ev bought me a whisky
I think the benefits of direct media (such as Twitter) are more obvious when the constraints on traditional media are more visible. CNN could not (or would not) get authoritative on-the-ground coverage in Iran, and the advantages of direct media became clear. But note well, the same advantage exists in coverage here at home, it's just that the constraints are not so visible (but very real nonetheless). CNN's use of an 'unverified material' tag to identify Twitter and social network content was a howler; as Jon Stewart appropriately said, "CNN should actually consider using this tag more often (say, during reports from White House correspondents and whenever pundits are talking)." Robert Scoble, Scoblizer, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Thoughts on Opera Unite
So there's all kinds of stuff in reaction to Opera Unite. In this lead item (language warning) Chris Messina offers a detailed analysis, with numerous links, of Unite. Marc Canter says, accurately, "we must focus on the benefits to openness, why owning your data is better and easier."

I've been doing a lot of background reading today, mostly catch-up. I read a report from opera analyst Lawrence Eng detailing more about Unite. To better understand, I worked my way through Opera's Widget documentation and built a demo app for myself. I also read through the W3C's Widgets Landscape document, a good and pretty accessible overview of major initiatives. I also looked at the W3C widget requirement. Some related work: the Webkit open sourc eproject. Also the ongoing HTML 5 specification, which will include client side data storage. Chris Messina, Factory Joe, June 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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