Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [Mobile] [About] [Archives] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
August 31, 2009

Apprenticeship New Brunswick: A Proposed Governance Structure
I am generally supportive of the recommendations on apprenticeship made to the New Brunswick government, with one major reservation. The report authors, who focused (without a real defense) on the Saskatchewan system, write, "Over and over again, both present and past employees of the Saskatchewan Commission emphasized that it is 'critical' that government appoint only those persons selected by industry in order to maintain the support and confidence of industry in their apprenticeship program." I disagree with this. There must be at least some representatives on the Board to protect the interests of the students, and to represent the wider needs of government and society. The release invites comments to the government. RJ Consulting, Government of New Brunswick, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Crisis and Hope
Oh I know, many of you don't want to read Chomsky. I'm linking to him anyway, even if the link appears off-topic (it isn't), because he is fundamentally correct. "That means tearing down an enormous edifice of delusions about markets, free trade, and democracy that has been assiduously constructed over many years and to overcome the marginalization and atomization of the public so that they can become 'participants,' not mere 'spectators of action,' as progressive democratic theoreticians have prescribed. Of all of the crises that afflict us, the growing democratic deficit may be the most severe." Noam Chomsky, Boston Review, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

European wiki on virtual campuses - globally
From the Re.ViCa website: "Re.ViCa has been making an inventory and carrying out a systematic review of cross-institutional Virtual Campus initiatives of the past decade within higher education at European, national and regional levels." Here is the virtual campus wiki itself. If you're wondering what counts as a 'virtual campus', here is a definition "as a limited and demarcated concept, which is expressed by drawing its boundary." Tony Bates, who links to the resource, is also an advisory committee member. Tony Bates, Weblog, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Chronicle Readers Debate the Merits of Online Learning
This is an article rich with irony in the way only the Chronicle can be. While admitting half way through the story that some readers "accused The Chronicle of an 'editorial slant against online ed.'" they still manage to finish this supposed 'discussion' of online learning with that old cudgel, "You are going in for major heart surgery. How many of you want the cardiologist to have gotten his/her degrees from excellent online education program?" (For those actually convinced by that line of reasoning, may I offer: you're a passenger in an airliner. How many of you would want a pilot who studied in a flight simulator?" Right, and the rest of you can contemplate how pilots can practise landing in the Hudson in real life. Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Consciousness and non-linearity
Clark Quinn begins a post, "Aaron Silvers wrote a post tying together the non-linear nature of cyberspace with the essentially linear nature of our past." And it occurs to me, my past is not linear. Oh sure, it may have occurred linearly but it now exists only in my mind, and in a most non-linear format. It's more like this. And, of course, my learning is in no-linear form as well. Learning isn't a narrative, it isn't a hierarchy, it isn't (except in some very coarse sense) cumulative. (p.s. I find the typeface on Quinn's blog very hard to read - is it just me?) Clark Quinn, Learnlets, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Teachers Teaching Teachers #162 - 08.05.09 - Making New Connections with VoiceThread
From Educause, "VoiceThread is a media aggregator that allows people to post media artifacts-which might be a document, a slide presentation, a video, or a collection of photos-for community feedback. Commentators can add remarks by means of microphone, webcam, keyboard, or telephone. The resulting Flash-based animation contains the original artifact and the commentary on it. VoiceThread incorporates media from a variety of sources and allows the layering of sound and comments from many sources. In this way, the application may support completely new types of sharing and presentation." This post follows up on VoiceThread with co-founders, Steve Muth and Ben Papell. It also contains a number of examples of sample voicethreads. Paul Allison, EdTechTalk, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Freefall: Newspaper Revenues Crash By 29%
"Unlike past updates, the NAA did not promote these numbers. When you look at them, it's easy to see why. In Q2 2009, newspapers made $6.8 billion in print and online revenues. In the same quarter last year, the newspapers made $9.6 billion, a nearly $3 billion difference in the span of a year." Newspapers were once thought invincible. So are colleges and universities. When the crisis hits the higher education sector - not long now - the drop in revenues will be even more precipitous.
Benn Parr, Mashable, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

My Response to Instructional Design is Dead - by many people
I love design too. I think about design every day. I believe that design has semantic import, and not merely pragmatic import. But what I don't do is conflate design with instructional design. Design may have, as one of its purposes, to convey information or to foster learning (these two objectives are distinct and mostly non-overlapping). But there is not a (practical) sub-discipline that is (strictly) the design of instructional materials. The success of sites like Common Craft, designed with an apparent indifference to instructional design principles ("The Lefevre's have no instructional design background at all," writes Schlenker) seems to me to be evidence of that. Brent Schlenker, Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Scripted Diagrams Getting Easier
Tony Hirst links to Diagrammr, which creates diagrams out of written descriptions you give it. He links to a number of other diagramming tools he has been looking at as well.
Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

PLEF: A Conceptual Framework for Mashup Personal Learning Environments
Unfortunately the articles in Learning Technology are typically so short they pose a challenge to readers to fill in the gaps. Such is the case with this description of a PLE framework, which might be useful, but which might be merely the imposition of an unneeded sematic layer between PLEs and domain services. I don't know. Is it really accurate to describe a PLE as a "mashup engine"? I'm not so sure. Mohamed Amine Chatti, Matthias Jarke and Marcus Specht, Learning Technology, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

21st Century Skills: The Challenges Ahead
Andrew J. Rotherham and Daniel Willingham advance their now-familiar argument that people advocating 21st century skills (aka. critical thinking etc.) will need to focus on content knowledge, teacher training and reform, and better tests. To say that I disagree with the article would be an understatement. More to come. Andrew J. Rotherham and Daniel Willingham, ASCD Educational Leadership, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.