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by Stephen Downes
August 14, 2009 Launches as Public Policy Report Aggregator
Oh, I like this. " has been launched as a new site that aggregates public policy reports from across Canada. Looks like a promising initiative." Michael Geist, Weblog, August 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Why blocking news aggregators is dumb and won't work
Just for the record: the blocking of news sites by subscription walls will not effect OLDaily (except, perhaps, to increase its readership a bit). Like thousands of similar services, OLDaily gathers news from the source, and frequently reports on issues and resources that would be completely overlooked in traditional media. While media with paid staff can expend more effort to go out and find the news, the need to pay such staff creates a commercial imperative, which means that the outlet must focus on mainstream news and sponsor priorities. OLDaily won't cater to the latter, and should some item from our field become mainstream (like, say, edupunk) it is more likely to show up here first, well before it attracts the attention of traditional media. Amy Gahran, Contentious, August 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

eduCommons is software that works behind the scenes at many open courseware sites around the world. It is essentially a staging and preparation environment, providing a way to do things like clear IP and create metadata. Developed by enPraxis. It can be compared to Alfresco, another open source CMS. The difference (say eduCommons people) is that eduCommons is designed specifically for OERs. Features: easy to install, can create a static site (and store it to a Flash drive), RSS for more recent items, Common cartridge exort, MIT course import. Various Authors, Website, August 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Sharing, not just planning to share - Crowdsourcing OER Search for Africa
Scott Leslie outlines a proposal offered by Dave Cormier this morning, to crowd-source open educational resources for Africa. The OER program described by Catherine Ngugi in her opening keynote (video) requires a person to seek out specific OERs, but this can be a daunting task. But the community could locate these more easily. So, he proposed, people should follow the findanoerafrica Twitter feed and to respond when you know about the location fo some resource they are looking for. I've signed up for the feed RSS and will pass along some of the requests here, as they come up. Scott Leslie, edtechpost, August 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Here we are... there we are going
Do we work within the univresity (and government) system to effect change, or do we work outside it? At a policy discussion yesterday I opined that expending effort trying to change the existing system merely detracts from useful work we could be doing, and thta it makes more sense to develop an alternative approach, one which would evolve outside existing systems and eventually replace them.

In this post, George Siemens launches what amounts to an effective three-pronged attack against that position. To summarize:

1. It's not going to happen. "Universities aren't going anywhere. They are not going to disappear. Recent UNESCO (here and here) and World Bank publications (here) speak to the centrality of universities in international competitiveness.

2. It's not necessary. "Courses, unlike universities, are not directly integrated into the power system of a society... I would love to see courses more become more distributed and fragmented. Current conceptions of courses should be destabilized (or have a look at the online conference we hosted earlier this year: From Courses to Dis/Course)."

3. It's not desirable. "Many reform advocates suggest that distributed networks can do what organized structures have done in the past (such as Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head and through the network (of networks))" [but] Socially conscious thinking flourishes in universities like it does in no other public venue... The virtues that a society finds desirable are systematized in its institutions. However futile this activity, it helps society, and media, to hold people accountable, to devise strategies, and create laws so people feel safe." George Siemens, Connectivism, August 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

A Bag of Gold
Chris Lott summarizes Gardner Campbell: "Gardner puts forth a premise that we should be teaching using narrative, curation and sharing. We all like to talk about the regressive factors that hold us back: institutional lethargy, recalcitrant educators, simple fear, technological complexity. But worse still is that as much as those factors exist, progress towards this vision of education is impeded by people at the front. Creating narrative is thwarted by concerns about community building and identity. Curation is pushed back by far-leaning constructivists and discovery-based educational theory promoting leading from behind. Efforts at sharing crumble and dissolve beneath the weight of arguments over licensing and which space should be used. Despite the clarity of these three simple concepts-narrate, curate, share-the world feels exceedingly dark." Here is the video recording of Campbell's memorable presentation. Chris Lott, Ruminate, August 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Opting Out Of Berne
David Wiley summarizes and discusses Dave Cormier, expressing a view with which I am in substantial agreement: "Dave finds himself in a quandry - in order to share things with others he first has to claim ownership in order to assert his legal right to share (via an open license). Most of the things we make' are really amalgams of so much that's come before, can we even rightly claim ownership? The current system forces us to if we want to share. The fact that so many of us use an open license so readily just shows how subservient we are to the copyright overlords, and perpetuates and strengthens the very system we believe is so horribly broken." Here is a video recording of Cormier's talk. David Wiley, Iterating Toward Openness, August 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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